Following Kimberly Strassel's bombshell reporting at the Wall Street Journal that alleges the FBI may have placed a spy in the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election, a well-known investigative reporter dropped another bomb.
Paul Sperry, who writes for RealClearPolitics and the New York Post, reported Friday the Obama administration set spy "traps" for low-level officials in the Trump campaign.
First, what did Strassel report?
The Justice Department and FBI has long maintained it opened a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign after it received a tip about drunken rumblings from then-Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos.
That claim was called into question this week after House officials won a battle with the DOJ to review information that is so top-secret that the agency claimed lives would be in danger if more eyes viewed it. In particular, they claimed a U.S. citizen, who has provided intelligence for the FBI and CIA, would be put at risk.
However, House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) were eventually granted a classified briefing. This development alone holds "stunning implications," Strassel reported.
First, she said it showed the DOJ has long been hiding important information from House investigators, information House Speaker Paul Ryan said Congress is entitled to. Second, it shows the DOJ may have embedded a spy in Trump's campaign.
Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency.
Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign. This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting.
With that information in hand, Strassel explained it's important to learn when the CIA or FBI placed its informant in the Trump campaign or first made contact with the person. If it was before the Papadopoulos tip — which the DOJ says spurred the investigation — then "then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment."
Any clues as to who the informant is?
Strassel said she believes she is aware of the spy's identity, though she was unable to receive confirmation on her suspicions and thus didn't report the name. Other news outlets, like ZeroHedge, have speculated as to who the person possibly could be.
What did Sperry report?
He said on Friday that former Secretary of State John Kerry, senior FBI agent Peter Strzok and former CIA Director John Brennan set "Russian espionage traps" for low-level campaign aides in the Trump campaign.
He did not offer additional details, but has been reporting on the story, including the shadiness surrounding the DOJ's handing of the Christopher Steele dossier, for months.