WASHINGTON – In May 7th hearings to the US Senate regarding the FBI ‘observation’ which was conducted on now U.S President Trump, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States, Christopher Wray, tacitly admitted that the agency spied on Trump. Under questioning, Wray appeared to equivocate, and said that “spying” is an inappropriate term when it comes to court-authorized observation, reports the Associated Press. He did not clarify why such a term would be inappropriate.
Spying is a common term used legitimately to describe intelligence gathering and investigations, i.e. ‘observations’, of a given target, the subject of which is normally at the same time done ‘according to the rules’. At the same time, the term spying is also used to – equally loosely – describe espionage. Espionage is often against the laws of some jurisdiction (for example, another country), even if approved legally by the country initiating it. Espionage carries a sense of illegality, while not being necessarily illegal, while spying is a general term that can describe both espionage as well as any number of investigations. The criteria that spying and espionage both contain is that the subject of said investigations are unaware that they are being observed.
Trump was unaware that he was being observed by the FBI during the campaign.
During the hearings in the Senate Appropriations Committee of the US Congress on May 7th, the director of the FBI was asked a question related to the recent statement by the country’s Prosecutor General William Barr that Donald Trump was being monitored for the 2016 campaign headquarters . When Wray was asked if he believed that the department he headed was engaged in espionage, observing if there was a court order, he said: “This is not the term that I would use.”
According to the director of the FBI, different people can use different terminology, thereby admitting that the terminology ‘spying’ could hypothetically be used ,but for him “the main thing is that everything is done according to the rules.”
At the same time, Christopher Wray refused to discuss the FBI investigation regarding the election headquarters of Donald Trump, because it is part of an incomplete investigation, led by the Inspector General of the US Department of Justice.
While Wray has refused to discuss the investigation on the basis of it being ongoing, it does not prohibit another investigation into the investigation itself. Such an investigation would look at who ordered the investigation in question, on what basis it was filed and approved, and how this fit into the electoral process.