The FBI didn’t use an informant to go after Trump. They used one to protect him.

Understanding that the FBI may have been using an intelligence source — not a criminal “informant” — also explains the Justice Department’s concern about the purported source’s safety. To obtain information about Russia’s intentions and methods, the FBI would have had to use someone who would not raise red flags if their interactions with campaign officials got back to Russia. So there is a high likelihood that this person is someone already familiar to Russian intelligence, and possibly someone who was already in Russian business or organized crime circles, which all have links back to Russian President Vladimir Putin — which means the source would be in potential danger if discovered. The Washington Post reports that the FBI is working to protect the purported source in light of Nunes’s request and to “mitigate the damage” if his or her identity is disclosed, which suggests that this individual may be currently providing law enforcement authorities with intelligence and will need to cease if made public…

Ironically, the FBI’s apparent attempt to protect the campaign by investigating Russia’s efforts quietly is now being weaponized against it. Accusations that the FBI was “spying” on the Trump campaign — rather than spying on foreign spies, which is its job — erase the important distinctions between counterintelligence and criminal investigations. It also displays a shocking ignorance of the devastating consequences to our national security if the Justice Department hands over the information that Nunes is demanding: “Burning” the FBI’s purported source and exposing how it obtained intelligence against Russia’s efforts only helps Russia cover its tracks, change tactics and improve its future operations against the United States.