What is 'Spying'? William Barr Claims Word Doesn't Have Any 'Negative Connotation' however Dictionaries Say Otherwise

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What is 'Spying'? William Barr Claims Word Doesn't Have Any 'Negative Connotation' however Dictionaries Say Otherwise

A spar between Attorney General William Barr and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse over the which means and connotation of the phrase “spying” prompted folks on Twitter to query the precise definition of the phrase.  

Barr’s Wednesday testimony earlier than the Senate Judiciary Committee targeted on particular counsel Robert Mueller’s report. He fielded a collection of questions from each Democratic and Republican senators and through Whitehouse’s discipline of questions, Barr’s description of the licensed Department of Justice actions was referenced.

Whitehouse stated Barr used the phrase “spying” throughout his testimony earlier than the House Appropriations Committee in reference to the licensed Department of Justice actions. Then, Whitehouse requested if, in an official capability, he used the phrase beforehand to explain licensed division investigative actions.

“I’m not going to abjure the use of the word spying … my first job was in the CIA and I don’t think the word spying has any pejorative connotation at all,” Barr responded. “…I think spying is a good English word that in fact doesn’t have synonyms because it is the broadest word incorporating all forms of covert intelligence collections.”

Barr famous that the query concerning the connotation of the phrase was whether or not the actions had been licensed.

Tom Nichols, a professor on the Naval War College, posted on Twitter that given Barr’s background within the CIA, he is aware of when it does and doesn’t have a connotation.

“He’s managing to shame himself and mock both the CIA and DOJ at the same time.”

Josh Rogin, a Washington Post columnist and political analyst for CNN, wrote that Barr was both deliberately or unintentionally “avoiding the obvious that Trump used the word ‘spying’ in the most pejorative way.”

“That’s why it was shocking he used it,” Rogin wrote within the Tweet.

Jason Seher, a producer for CNN’s Inside Politics, posted a hyperlink to a May 2018 tweet by President Donald Trump and stated it was a “reminder of how the president views the word ‘spying.’”

“Clapper has now admitted that there was Spying in my campaign. Large dollars were paid to the Spy, far beyond normal,” Trump posted on Twitter. “Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history. SPYGATE – a terrible thing!”

As outlined by Merriam-Webster, the phrase, “spy,” as a verb, has three definitions, listed as:

  • To watch secretly often for hostile functions
  • To catch sight of
  • To search or search for intensively – often used with out

Merriam-Webster listed a number of synonyms for the verb type of the phrase “spying” together with, behold, catch, descry, discern, distinguish, eye, discover, observe, regard, comment, spot, view and witness.

As a verb, the Random House Unabridged Dictionary had two definitions for the phrase: 

  • to observe secretively or furtively with hostile intent 
  • to act as a spy; interact in espionage.
  • to catch sight of all of the sudden; espy; descry:
  • to uncover or discover out by commentary or scrutiny 
  • Barr additionally stated the phrase “spying” was generally utilized by the press till the “faux outrage” a couple of weeks in the past. 

Barr additionally stated the phrase “spying” was generally utilized by the press till the “faux outrage” a couple of weeks in the past. 

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