Former Director of National Intelligence helps redefine ‘spy’

Obama-era Director of National Intelligence James Clapper joined CBS’s Face The Nation to discuss the Spygate scandal and to put some spin on the definition of the word “spy.”

Read a transcript of the interview below:

Face The Nation’s Margaret Brennan: Director, you have been critical in your book of the president. He, in turn, has been very critical of you — particularly this week. And I want to play for you a little bit of sound that we have here in a statement he gave to reporters. I’ll read it to you. We don’t have it. He said, “There’s never been anything like it in the history of our country. If you look at Clapper, he sort of admitted that they had spies in the campaign yesterday, inadvertently. But I hope it’s not true but it looks like it is.” Can you explain what the FBI’s intent was here and is the president misunderstanding?

James Clapper: Well, first of all, it is, uh, uh, uh, I have an aversion to the use of word “spy,” but let’s just, for sake of discussion, use that term which conventionally means the use of tradecraft using a formally trained case officer who would mask identity, who would attempt to recruit. So, none of the classical attributes of a spycraft, if I can use that term, were present here. This is the most benign form of information gathering, so to characterize it as a “spy” or “Spygate” is part, of course, of the narrative. And it’s directly antithetical to what I said.