UPDATED 9:20 AM PT — Tuesday, May 7, 2019
A former CIA official is backing reports which claim the Obama-era FBI did have measures in place to spy on the 2016 Trump campaign.
Former counterintelligence chief James Olson made the comments during an interview with Hill.TV on Monday. Olson said the bureau’s alleged efforts to obtain information under false pretenses from former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos would technically constitute as spying.
This comes as the New York Times reported last week the FBI sent an informant to meet with Papadopoulos amid allegations of Russian interference.
“Well it does sound like spying, spying can take many forms and the art of spying has evolved. There are a lot of technical ways now that spying can be done, but the old fashioned ways of misrepresenting yourself or approaching someone under false pretenses is still kind of the tried and true. And that sounds like what happened here. I think that person did misrepresent their purpose, and was looking for information, looking for possible compromise — yeah I’d call that spying.”
— James Olson, former CIA counterintelligence chief
Even former FBI Director James Comey admitted the agency used what he called “limited tools” in its operation against the Trump campaign:
“What should the FBI do when it gets that information? It should investigate to figure out whether any Americans are hooked up with this massive interference effort, and that’s what we did and as I said earlier, we should have been fired if we didn’t. There’s no way you would do other than what we did, which was use limited tools to try to understand: Is this true?”
Olson’s comments come as many are calling for criminal referrals over the alleged abuse of authority and political bias at the Obama-era FBI.