But the president’s claim that his campaign was infiltrated by an FBI informant also echoes longtime complaints by left-wing political activists, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union and Muslim-American groups, that the bureau often relies on flimsy evidence to justify spying on U.S. citizens.
“What’s wrong for the goose is wrong for the gander,” said Fordham University Law School’s Karen Greenberg, who tracks the FBI’s use of informants in terrorism sting operations that she argues often concoct crimes rather than uncovering them. “This is the FBI’s way of doing business—and not just in terrorism cases.”
“I’ve actually been thinking obsessively about it,” said Harvey Silverglate, a criminal defense attorney and famed civil liberties advocate. “It’s very difficult for me because I loathe and distrust completely the FBI. I loathe and distrust completely the president of the United States and I loathe and distrust completely Hillary Clinton. I am in a real bind.”