President Donald Trump's accusations the FBI spied on his presidential campaign are "distorted," former Director of Intelligence James Clapper said Wednesday.
Clapper, during an interview with Judy Woodruff on PBS's NewsHour, said there was "a big gulf between a spy in the traditional sense — employing spycraft or tradecraft — and an informant who is open about . . . who he was and what the questions he was asking."
"The important thing was not to spy on the campaign but rather to determine what the Russians were up to. Were they trying to penetrate to campaign, gain access, gain leverage, gain influence, and that was the concern that the FBI had? . . . I think they were just doing their job and trying to protect our political system," he added.
Trump over the weekend demanded the Justice Department investigate whether the FBI infiltrated his campaign, and the DOJ later said it would examine whether there was any politically motivated surveillance. The president also tweeted Wednesday, if the FBI did spy on his campaign, it "could be one of the biggest political scandals in history."
Clapper, who recently released a new book, "Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence," also said he was concerned about Trump's criticism of the DOJ and the FBI, and said he was speaking out now because he felt the need to do so.
"I think educating the public is probably the toughest thing to do. And I felt I needed to do that, because I think our institutions are under assail here, those which I have spent about 50 years of my life trying to defend."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.