Freelance spies

Gee, I didn’t know people were allowed to set up “sting” operations without any kind of legal authority.

A network of conservative activists, aided by a British former spy, mounted a campaign during the Trump administration to discredit perceived enemies of President Trump inside the government, according to documents and people involved in the operations.

The campaign included a planned sting operation against Mr. Trump’s national security adviser at the time, H.R. McMaster, and secret surveillance operations against F.B.I. employees, aimed at exposing anti-Trump sentiment in the bureau’s ranks.

See this is what I mean. That stuff is illegal if you don’t have a warrant and stuff, isn’t it? People can’t just do “sting operations” and “secret surveillance” on their own, without any kind of law enforcement authority, isn’t it? Or am I hopelessly out of touch.

The operations against the F.B.I., run by the conservative group Project Veritas, were conducted from a large home in the Georgetown section of Washington that rented for $10,000 per month. Female undercover operatives arranged dates with the F.B.I. employees with the aim of secretly recording them making disparaging comments about Mr. Trump.

Since when is a random person spying on people with no authorization to do so an “undercover operative”?

Central to the effort, according to interviews, was Richard Seddon, a former undercover British spy who was recruited in 2016 by the security contractor Erik Prince to train Project Veritas operatives to infiltrate trade unions, Democratic congressional campaigns and other targets. He ran field operations for Project Veritas until mid-2018.

Isn’t all of that completely illegal? The government shouldn’t be doing it either, mostly, but at least when the government does it there is legal supervision and some accountability. (I say “mostly” because, you know, insurrections and stuff.)

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