But what happens when the intentional outing of U.S. intelligence assets is the province not of rogue insiders, not of foreign hackers or foreign agents, not of people who end up spending the rest of their lives as fugitives, but of senior officials in two branches of this country’s government who are most responsible for protecting those assets? To wit, what happens when the Chairman of the House intelligence committee and the President of the United States team up to out an FBI informant over the strenuous objection of the bureau and the Department of Justice—and manage to get the job done? And what happens when they do so for frankly political reasons: to protect the president from a properly predicated counterintelligence investigation involving the activity of an adversary foreign power?
These questions should be the stuff of conspiratorial Hollywood movies. They are, in fact, the stuff of this week’s news.
As a conservative lawyer, who at one point considered taking a job in the administration and still has close ties to it said to one of us last night: “All this man [the source] wanted to do was to help our country. And this was a legitimate counterintelligence inquiry with more than an adequate foundation and a perfectly appropriate method. Trump and Nunes have defiled the oaths they took. It’s just obscene.”