“Is he armed?” It was the question that I often asked my FBI case officers as I prepared to go meet with my contact, a well-trained Russian intelligence officer. The agents would always answer firmly and, directly looking me in the eye, say: “we got your back.”
It was that trust and faith that they would indeed protect me that kept me working undercover as a double-agent for the FBI, and made me voluntarily put myself in danger to keep meeting with the Russians for almost four years. For the relationship between intelligence asset and case officer is sacred.
In one fell swoop, I have just learned that my President betrayed that trust, perhaps for nothing more than to appeal to his vanity and ego.
Intelligence assets, those who collect intelligence and spy, are the crown jewels of any intelligence service. It is not CIA case officers who actually spy; instead they recruit individuals to collect intelligence for them.
It is both a difficult and extremely dangerous game, oftentimes requiring a case officer to take individuals clamoring to escape a dangerous place and convince them to not only return to that place, but to do so as a spy.