Don't call the anti-Trump leakers 'spies'

In the 1985 movie Spies like Us, two low-level government employees are chosen for a critical secret mission even though they have no training and are mentally and physically unsuitable to be CIA spies.  The reason for this is that the entire operation is a deception, and the two incompetents are considered expendable by their superiors.

Amazingly, we are witnessing another case of life imitating art because the Deep State and their media propaganda arm have bolstered their leftist policy fights and anti-Trump campaigns with so-called whistleblowers often referred to as spies, covert operatives, or agents.  This is not a new phenomenon.  The case against Scooter Libby was built on the charge that he revealed the identity of a supposed "covert operative" by the name of Valerie Plame.  This meme stuck despite the fact that the government prosecutor could not (or would not) produce documentation that proved her covert status.

As in the movie, Plame, Eric Ciaramella, and the rogue actors who produce phony intelligence such as the Trump dossier are expendable decoys doing the bidding of Deep State bosses and are not true spies or operatives*, and referring to them as such does a disservice to real spies who have sacrificed life and limb to protect our country.

In my many years in uniformed and civilian service, I have personally known only three people who were actual spies or covert operatives.  There may have been a few more, but because of their tradecraft, I probably didn't even realize it at the time.  The true spies had nothing in common with the delusional, anti-American desk-bound analysts of today.  The common characteristics for the ones I knew were patriotism, tough training, and a deep-seated opposition to spying on their fellow citizens.

Two of the three were at the tactical level.  A rough comparison would be to that of the frustrated actor Henry Harrison, who spied for Confederate Lt. General James Longstreet.  They accompanied U.S. forces and mostly did the vitally important and risky task of cultivating sources.  Things can go south quickly even for seasoned agents, yet the Deep State amateurs who play pretend just bang away at their computers, analyzing information gained at great cost by the real spies.

The third person was at the national level, and unlike James Bond, he did not complete missions with a few bruises and win the pretty girl.  He was lucky to make it out alive in what turned out to be his last mission.  And unlike Bond, his injuries were so severe that he had to be medically retired.

Much like all soldiers, the health effects of this high-stress environment, including PTSD and heart problems, are just some of the rewards of this lifestyle.  Meanwhile, the desk-bound pretenders fret about paper cuts and the inoperative water cooler while sipping on their Starbucks, imagining themselves to be arbiters of all that is good.  In their cloistered worldview, no good can come from a Trump presidency.

So beware of those who are touted to be agents, and keep in mind that these expendables are laughably unaware that the last thing a real operative wants is to be outed as a spy.  We need to wade through all of the media and the Deep State lies and call the pretenders exactly what they are: stool pigeons.

*As of this writing, Lt. Col. Vindman hasn't claimed to be a secret agent, but he did say he was asked to be the defense minister of Ukraine.  I have to admit, this is certainly a unique alternative to pretending to be a covert agent in order to establish his street cred.

John Smith is the pen name of a retired U.S. intelligence officer.

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