Former DNI James Clapper said Thursday that he believes Attorney General William Barr “deliberately” used the term “spying” to refer to intelligence agencies’ activities in connection with the Trump campaign in 2016.
“When the attorney general — I believe he used that term deliberately, you know, he has been the attorney general before so he’s not unfamiliar with all this, I thought it was quite stunning,” Clapper told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.
Clapper has been involved in the “spygate” debacle from the beginning, accidentally setting off the Trumpian conspiracy theorists himself when he used the term in an attempt to explain that the intelligence agencies’ intent was to investigate Russia election meddling, not the Trump campaign itself.
“Spying is a term I have never liked, I never liked that term being applied to me, even though I spent 50 years in the intelligence business,” Clapper added. “It has a bad connotation. It’s a pejorative term, it smacks of illegality, lack of oversight, all those kind of things, and that wasn’t the case here.”
Clapper thinks Barr used the word “spying” at Senate Appropriations Committee hearing “deliberately” pic.twitter.com/uqnOXFexoq
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) April 11, 2019
Read a deep dive into the word “spying” and how it’s been used and abused in this case here.