Friday on CNN's "The Situation Room" with Wolf Blitzer, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper responded to the New York Times reporting that "undercover FBI investigators" met with Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos during the 2016 election.
Papadopoulos, now the author of the book "Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump, told FOX News on Sunday that he believes the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies, including those of the UK and Australia, used undercover agents to try to entrap him, using honey-pots, front companies, and wiretaps to catch him in a perjury trap. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with one of those people and served 11 days in prison last year.
"Was it spying?" CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Clapper Friday. "I guess it meets the dictionary definition of surveillance or spying, a term I don't particularly like."
"I will say that using undercover agents is a standard and legitimate technique that is widely used in investigations," Clapper replied.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN: The president praised "The New York Times" for a front page story that there was an undercover FBI investigator who met with a Trump campaign official, George Papadopoulos. The president views this as spying. The attorney general says this is being looked at. Do you think the Justice Department inspector general will find anything inappropriate on the part of the FBI or the U.S. intelligence community as far as this is concerned?
FMR. DNI JAMES CLAPPER: Well, I don't know. but I will say that using undercover agents is a standard and legitimate technique that is widely used in investigations. That technique has been used to thwart a lot of counterterrorism plots in this country. So I'm sure -- I mean, there are protocols and standards for using an agent and I'm sure that's the case here.
WOLF BLITZER: So you're saying this was not done lightly?
CLAPPER: No. It is never done lightly.
BLITZER: Was it spying?
JAMES CLAPPER: Well, yeah, I guess it meets the dictionary definition of surveillance or spying, a term I don't particularly like. It's not a term of art used by intelligence people. It has a negative connotation of a rogue operation, out of control, not in compliance with the law, and that's not the case at all.