Talk:Spygate (conspiracy theory by Donald Trump)

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Page needs to be moved[edit]

I'm coming here from a 3RR report and only intrigued by the name. This current disambiguation is inappropriate as it could either read "A conspiracy theory propagated by Trump" or "a conspiracy theory about Trump" (the latter which is absolutely wrong against BLP). I understand the conflict with the NFL term to make "Spygate (conspiracy theory)" a potential conflict, but searching Google, there's far far less connection of the term "conspiracy theory" to the NFL incident compared to the Trump situation. News hits are also also double for Trump and Spygate than the NFL.

This page must be moved back to "Spygate (conspiracy theory)" to avoid the immediate BLP problem, as well as to meet the conciseness needed for disambiguation terms, and in case anyone that gets here thinking this is the NFL one, a hatnote is sufficient to point them to the right direction. --Masem (t) 01:42, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

*Support It needs to be moved to Spygate investigation because the term is in mainstream use to encompass the failed coup d'etat against Trump rather than just Trump's claims. See Dan Bongino's book Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump. There is also an excellent infographic that is referenced in various media.[1]Phmoreno (talk) 02:09, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

Phmoreno, lol, "failed coup". 17:58, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Moreno, please quit citing unreliable sources like Bongino and The Epoch Times. You have been instructed on this many times. Your refusal to learn our RS policy is damning. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 18:03, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

*Support It needs to be moved to Spygate. Enough of the two year WP campaign pushing the Trump is a Russian agent POV. The President accused former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and former FBI agent Peter Strzok and "hundreds of others" of treason and implied they could be punished for it.

PingMe, Have you read Spygate: The True Story of Collusion]? I have. It has 24 PAGES of end notes pp 235-259. It's documented with literally hundreds of mainstream articles. Unreliable? Says who??? I'm really getting tired of your slanted opinion calling this book "unreliable". I'm giving you three days to get over your non-neutral POV. kgrr talk 01:40, 29 March 2019 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:18, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

There are numerous sources, including the Washington Post, regarding declassification of the FISA warrants covered by Spygate, plus discussion of the FBI spies interacting with the Trump campaign.Phmoreno (talk) 12:28, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

  • @Masem: It's pretty clear that we can't take those two "support" comments above seriously, and why. This is "a conspiracy theory propagated by Trump", but of course it's also about him because everything he says and does is about him. I don't see how it's a BLP violation though. He's the one who put this out there. – Muboshgu (talk) 18:00, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
    • Yeah, I'm not considering those !votes. But as I said, one possible interpretation of the disambiguation phrase is "a conspiracy theory directly about Trump", rather than a BLP that involves events that include Trump but are not directly about him, or a conspiracy theory created by him. Add that the phrase can be naturally condensed down to "conspiracy theory" without disrupting any other pages, and the easy means to implement the clarification with the NFL event, and that basically would make it clear that the page should be moved back. There is strong BLP and article titling policy reasons to move the page, with very little reason to retain at this point. --Masem (t) 22:26, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
      • Gotcha. Not really sure what the best title for this should be, but I'm open to reasonable NPOV possibilities. – Muboshgu (talk) 01:44, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
        • That's why I've said "Spygate (conspiracy theory)" is fine. no BLP issues, is concise, and there's far less connection of the term "conspiracy theory" to the NFL Spygate such that a hatnote is sufficient to redirect a searcher to the right page. --Masem (t) 05:11, 29 March 2019 (UTC)

*Support As far as I can tell, the goalposts have shifted far enough at this point that it requires a fairly "out there" conspiracy theory to believe that Obama's administration didn't spy on the Trump campaign. Furthermore, even though left leaning sources dislike it, official opprobrium (POTUS and much of federal legislature) is directed against rogue deep state elements that aggressively investigated Trump/Russian collusion without a good reason to do so, which in connection to the painfully clear anti-Trump animus of the parties involved (Strzok, McCabe, Comey, Brennan, Clapper), abundantly substantiates the political angle of the Spygate accusation. Time for POV conflicted editors to "let it go" and acknowledge that this encyclopedia shouldn't adopt a leftist slant on this issue. I would favor a title of "Spygate" even though the trend of putting "gate" on things is silly - that's what the Spygate accusers are calling it, so that is its name. Wookian (talk) 14:28, 29 March 2019 (UTC)

  • Wookian, you write "without a good reason to do so". How many suspicious and secret contacts, which were lied about by Trump and his campaign, again and again and again, would constitute a "good reason" to start an investigation? Are you serious, or just baiting us?
Before the dossier, there were already several suspicious things happening: Papadopoulos's actions showed the Trump campaign knew about the DNC hacked emails before anyone else, ergo they had Russian contacts they shouldn't have had. Several allied foreign intelligence agencies were reporting to the FBI and CIA that they were listening in on Russians talking about how they were discussing the election with Trump campaign members. They were alarmed by this illegal coordination and the Russian interference in the election. The Trump Tower meeting was filled with suspicious elements and people, a very well-planned and coordinated meeting, and Trump even trumped his own son and son-in-law (who had a prepared statement telling the truth) by issuing a false press release, which of course was exposed as a lie. (That false release is seen as evidence of guilt, collusion, and obstruction.) Flynn, Stone, Page, and others in the campaign were having all kinds of secret contacts with Russians that had no legitimate purpose, all relating to the campaign. That's seen as evidence of possible collusion.
So HOW MUCH of this type of activity is a "good reason"? This has nothing to do with the dossier. This was all activity known by American and foreign intelligence agencies, who were all justifiably very alarmed by the Russian hacks, leaks, and penetration of voting machines and voter rolls. Even more worrying was that all that illegal activity was being sought after and accepted by the Trump campaign. Never once did they do the only right thing (which Steele immediately did) by turning over that information to the FBI. Instead, they cooperated with the Russians by accepting, and not refusing and reporting. Even now Trump refuses to accept that the Russians interfered in the election to help him win. That's seen as aiding and abetting a crime. It's also seen as treason by many. So how much of that should they have ignored and just allowed? Seriously. Can you imagine what the GOP would have done if Obama had done that, instead of running an honest campaign? -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 17:24, 29 March 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ Xiao, Bowen. "Spygate: The True Story of Collusion". Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  • Oppose and procedural objection. Aside from the arguments I already made on this page, this move is procedurally defective. The OP is seeking to overturn consensus that was obtained one month ago to move from Spygate (conspiracy theory) to Spygate (Donald Trump conspiracy theory). The consensus was based primarily on the fact that the "(conspiracy theory)" parenthetical was confusing (and therefore ineffective) since Spygate is commonly associated with the NFL scandal, and it did in fact have a conspiracy theory component to it. More concerning, however, is that, as far as I can tell, not a single participant in the prior move discussion was alerted to this one. Then we have a series of apparent "Support" votes that aren't actually in support. One says we should move the article to Spygate investigation even though that's not the proposal. A second says we should move the article to Spygate, even though that's not the proposal either. The third says we should move the article to Spygate (conspiracy theory) while arguing that Spygate isn't a conspiracy theory. That's totally nonsensical. The merits of these !voters' arguments aside, clearly they do not understand what has been proposed here. If Masem really wants to pursue this, I suggest they start fresh with a {{requested move}} template, explicitly state what title they want the article moved to, acknowledge the prior consensus, and notify all of the editors who were involved in it. R2 (bleep) 19:10, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
To be clear, I understand Masem's concern and wouldn't be opposed to a change. I just don't think that we should go back to Spygate (conspiracy theory). R2 (bleep) 21:37, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per R2. Very good reasons for not making a change right now. None of the support !votes can be counted anyway, due to complete confusion.
I understand the desire for a less confusing title, so a possible move might be wanted, but this needs to be done properly. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 19:21, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
I have not actually nor was attempted to start a proper RM, just trying to figure out why there's a reason to have a BLP violation in the title (the last RM close doesn't really consider that , and I was hoping someone would have a potential reason). Yes, a proper RM needs to be started, and given that the only argument give to keep it at this current name is "it could be confused with NFL Spygate" while there are several strong reasons to move, another RM disicussion should be started. --Masem (t) 17:48, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
Masem, I tend to agree, but before going to RM, where any confusion or lack of consensus will just create a failed clusterf##k, we should reach a consensus here on a good replacement title. We need to brainstorm for ideas. I'll be watching this space. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 03:48, 31 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @Masem: - if you’re concerned about BLP then I propose “Spygate (conspiracy theory by Donald Trump)”. starship.paint ~ KO 04:41, 31 March 2019 (UTC)
The only argument I am seeing right now against using "(conspiracy theory)" as the disambiguation phrase is "it might be confused with the NFL thing". But 1) we have HATNOTES to direct people that might be looking for the NFL thing by searching on "Spygate conspiracy theory" and end up here to get to them to the NFL one, 2) it is a more concise disambiguation phrase, and 3) to some degree, this political thing does have about twice as much connection to the word "Spygate" over the NFL in Google and Google News searching. --Masem (t) 04:46, 31 March 2019 (UTC)
I'll add that based on the discussion going on below this, maybe "(conspiracy theory)" is necessarily the right phase, but whatever phrase is given, as long as it avoids naming Trump and stays as concise as possible, the same logic above (as to distinguish from the NFL topic) applies. --Masem (t) 14:35, 31 March 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── When done properly, IOW reflecting what RS say, I don't see the inclusion of Trump's name in the title as a BLP violation. Only when negative information is unsourced is there a problem, and that's not the case here. Just make sure the title has (1) no ambiguity and (2) accurately describes the content of the article. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 16:01, 31 March 2019 (UTC)

  • It really does depend on what disambiguation phrase is picked. As I've said, as it is right now, it could read as a conspiracy theory raised by Trump (true), or could be read as a conspiracy theory about Trump (not really true), and this latter is what tends into BLP. I don't recommend this but if the term was "Spygate (Donald Trump presidency)" that's not a BLP problem. But the other thing again to keep in mind that we want the most concise term; if we are just adding Trump's name to distinguish, that's probably a problem. But I can't saying for certain until a better term is settled on; only that if it stays at "conspiracy theory", removing Trump's name meets both naming and BLP policy issues. --Masem (t) 03:52, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

* Supportish the longer title seems awkward and confusing to me, so I’d prefer something else. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 17:37, 31 March 2019 (UTC)

    • Support** Since it's up for debate, it should simply be Spygate, not this ridiculous title. If it is proven to be a "conspiracy theory" (lie?), it's a ridiculous title. Miserlou (talk) 20:26, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

Spygate originated with Louise Mensch and the NY Times in November of 2016[edit]

The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

In a Times op-ed posted online Friday, Louise Mensch, a writer and former member of the UK Parliament, gives her suggestion for what questions the House Intelligence Committee should ask as it holds hearings on Russia’s influence in the US election. Mensch offers Times readers reason to trust her expertise: “In November, I broke the story that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court had issued a warrant that enabled the F.B.I. to examine communications between ‘U.S. persons’ in the Trump campaign relating to Russia-linked banks," she writes.

“In November, I broke the story that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court had issued a warrant that enabled the F.B.I. to examine communications between ‘U.S. persons’ in the Trump campaign relating to Russia-linked banks," she writes.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 10:51, March 28, 2019‎ (UTC)

This is the no evidence that Trump possessed. The above is the genesis of the public including Donald Trump knowing that the FBI was spying on his campaign. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:09, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

  • This Mensch (she is a conspiracy theorist) matter is about the well-documented surveillance of Carter Page after he left the campaign, starting in October 2016. This was based on three court-ordered FISA warrants. He had also been the subject of a FISA warrant in 2014, before joining the campaign. He was warned about Russian spies trying to recruit him, and then he kept up his contacts with them, anti-American speech, etc. He was asking to be surveilled. It was the right thing to do. The surveillance of Carter Page is not part of Spygate, which is about Stefan Halper's contacts with three campaign members:
  • Carter Page, a campaign foreign policy adviser who "had extensive discussions" with Halper, starting on July 11-12, 2016, on "a bunch of different foreign-policy-related topics," ending in September 2017.[1][2][3]
  • Sam Clovis, national co-chair of Trump's election campaign, in August 31 or September 1, 2016.[1]
  • George Papadopoulos, a campaign foreign policy adviser, on September 15, 2016,[4] and September 25, 2016.[3]
BullRangifer (talk) 01:23, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

  1. ^ a b Bump, Philip (May 22, 2018). "How the FBI informant's outreach to Trump staffers fits into overall investigation". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  2. ^ Fandos, Nicholas; Goldman, Adam (April 10, 2019). "Barr Asserts Intelligence Agencies Spied on the Trump Campaign". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b Goldman, Adam; Mazzetti, Mark; Rosenberg, Matthew (May 18, 2018). "F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims". The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  4. ^ Goldman, Adam; Savage, Charlie (April 9, 2019). "Justice Dept. Watchdog's Review of Russia Inquiry Is Nearly Done, Barr Says". The New York Times.

IP's comment[edit]

Wikipedia has become nothing more than CNN. Spygate is real and unraveling before our eyes. The FBI under Obama was weaponized. The democrats used the FISA courts under Obama to spy on Trump. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:47, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

  • This comment (and so many recently prior) made me reflect on the lede of the article. People seem to think Spygate isn't a conspiracy theory. Maybe it isn't, for them. But this article is about the May 2018 and June 2018 stuff that Trump said, and Trump called that Spygate. So, I've edited the lede. This article is accurate, the claims he made were debunked, and are still debunked right now. But the thing is, maybe there is really a Spygate scandal out there, but whatever Spygate scandal some people are thinking of certainly isn't about what he said in May 2018 and June 2018. So the Spygate scandal should really be another article - go create one and see if it's well sourced enough (will there be enough reliable sources?), or coherent enough (will reliable sources even agree what Spygate is?) not to be deleted. starship.paint ~ KO 11:04, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
I wouldn't encourage these editors to create a new article. We already have an article it would neatly fit into, namely Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. That article could really benefit from a section on the Comey-led (pre-Mueller) FBI investigation, and a reference to Spygate would fit in nicely there. There's also James Comey#Russian election interference investigation, which doesn't link to this article, but probably should (consistent with WP:BLP and WP:FRINGE). R2 (bleep) 17:01, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
In my opinion, the article is incorrect as to the definition of what "Spygate" actually is. "Spygate," as it is understood among the people who actually use the term in a contemporary sense, refers to supposed abuses of power by the Obama Administration against the Trump Campaign, including 1) the use of Opposition Research materials to obtain a FISA warrant against Carter Page, 2) the use of the FISA warrant against Page to gather "incidental" communications of officials in Trump's campaign who were not under investigation, and 3) the unmasking of senior Trump Campaign/Trump Transition officials by Cabinet level officials in the Obama Administration including Susan Rice and Samantha Power. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 18:51, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
SIPPINONTECH, please define "the people who actually use the term in a contemporary sense" and their sources. Please tell me it's something better than Breitbart or Infowars. Because none of the three points you mention above are indicative of abuses of power. – Muboshgu (talk) 19:10, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

Attorney General of the United States: "I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated. [...] spying on a political campaign is a big deal."[edit]

AG Barr's testimony today shows that Donald Trump's accusation that his campaign was spied on in 2016 was true. He furthermore says that such spying is suspicious, its justifiability is in question, and this is being investigated. [1] This should not be surprising, since such investigations would have been difficult while the SCI was ongoing. Wookian (talk) 16:19, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

So my intent is to highlight the above prominently in the article. It is clearly relevant, solidly sourced and essential to understanding the material in the article. Any objections before I do so? Wookian (talk) 16:21, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Wookian, sigh. He later said "I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I am saying that I am concerned about it and I’m looking into it." – Muboshgu (talk) 16:34, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Surveillance does not need to be improper to fit the definition of "spying." This is s a pointless semantic distinction that has no bearing on the merit of the claims presented. I will also point out that neither did William Barr say that it was proper. He said he was investigating it. Meaning that, at the very least, William Barr has at least some indication that it may not have been proper. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:28, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Wookian, do you see how the headline "Barr testifies 'spying did occur' on Trump campaign, amid reported review of informant's role" is disingenuous, since it leaves out the key qualifier "I think"? – Muboshgu (talk) 16:36, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
In no way does this indicate Trump's accusations were true. O3000 (talk) 16:48, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
It does indicate that the assertions made article's opening words "Spygate is a false conspiracy theory" are, at the least, disputable.<Periander6 (talk) 17:10, 10 April 2019 (UTC)>
In the same way that modern flat Earth societies would dispute that the Earth is round. Yet, our article opening for Earth won't give that false theory the time of day. We won't give credence to the idea that the FBI did anything inappropriate until we see incontrovertible evidence of it. Even Barr admits he has no evidence. – Muboshgu (talk) 17:19, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
He went on to say: “I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred". The Spygate conspiracy theory claims that Obama spied on Trump's campaign to help Hillary in the election. There is no such evidence and it was not suggested by the AG. O3000 (talk) 17:22, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
The beginning sentence about the theory being false should, by the same token, be deleted due to incontrovertible evidence, no? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:31, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
The incontrovertible evidence is that it is false. – Muboshgu (talk) 17:33, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
With all due respect, I don't believe there is clear and concise evidence either way. Investigations are happening in both directions. According to US Code, a person is innocent until proven guilty, and thus a statement is true until proven false. One can't say this is a false conspiracy until it is incontrovertibly proven false. (written by IP editor - please sign next time?)
It is puzzling to me, Muboshgu why you would equate suspicions that the FBI's spying was inappropriate with flat earth conspiracies. "One of these things is not like the other." Multiple FBI people involved, including Strzok, McCabe, and Comey were extremely anti-Trump and have been fired. The Attorney General does not investigate whether the earth is flat, however he is investigating whether this surveillance was improper. You should stop upholding the frankly unsustainable anti-Trump slant of this article with your biased POV. Wookian (talk) 17:39, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Wookian, you're clearly taking my comparison too literally. The point is that you're bringing the most frayed threads and claiming them to be proof. You said in the first edit of this section "AG Barr's testimony today shows that Donald Trump's accusation that his campaign was spied on in 2016 was true", and I showed you that this is not at all the case. Barr's testimony shows that he has a predetermined belief and he's looking for "facts" to verify it. – Muboshgu (talk) 17:42, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Wrong! How do you know Barr's intentions? Can you read minds? At this point, we can only say that it has neither been proven nor disproven. Just because you found a bunch of left-leaning opinion pieces that assert Donald Trump made it up, does not mean anything. The fact that Bill Barr, the attorney general of the United States, thinks that there was spying means it is at least possible. What Barr actually said was "“I think spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur. But the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated" “I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.” He did not say there is no evidence, so I don't know where you're getting that from. What it appears he is suggesting is that this needs to be investigated.--Rusf10 (talk) 17:46, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
User:Rusf10, of course the spying did occur. You would have to be a fringe conspiracy theorist at this point to claim it didn't. The only remaining questions relate to the extent and justifiability of such spying. Wookian (talk) 17:55, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
The conspiracy theory pushed by Trump stated it was predicated. And listen to Barr's testimony. He clearly backed off. Indeed, he said there was no evidence that the FBI did anything wrong -- the opposite of what was suggested above about Strzok, McCabe, and Comey. And, investigation is not "spying". O3000 (talk) 17:57, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Some people are trying to short circuit the discussion and preempt the scandal by saying that the FBI doesn't classify it as spying. However, our intelligence community doesn't use the words "spy" or "spying" to describe their undercover assets' human intelligence gathering at all, so that's just sort of a red herring. The term "spy" here means whatever those making the "Spygate" accusations intend it to mean. Something can be "breathing related" even though medical professionals would call it "pulmonary," and it's silly to claim that the first usage is factually incorrect. Do you understand the point I am making here? Wookian (talk) 18:04, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
There is no evidence that any “intelligence” about the Trump campaign was being gathered. And please be careful about accusations against Strzok, McCabe, Comey and others. WP:BLP O3000 (talk) 18:10, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

I see ‎Isothermic's block has expired and they are continuing the edit war. I can't revert. O3000 (talk) 18:14, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Objective3000, I dealt with it. – Muboshgu (talk) 18:17, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The AG made no “announcement”. He was being questioned and made an unprepared response. He then backed off and later, given the opportunity to clarify, used far less inflammatory language. One of the reasons we don’t jump to put stuff into an encyclopedia is to give some time for the dust to settle. O3000 (talk) 18:37, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
    How can we write this is a false conspiracy theory when it’s clearly under investigation? We have a few biased news sources who seem to know more than the Justice Department. Let’s save the judgment until after the investigation concludes. Mr Ernie (talk) 18:44, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Later clarifying, he said he was not suggesting that rules were violated. He noted that Congress and the Justice Department’s inspector general have already completed investigations of that matter, and that after reviewing those investigations he would be able to see whether there were any “remaining questions to be addressed.” In no manner did he suggest that Spygate was anything other than a false conspiracy theory or that it was even under investigation. O3000 (talk) 18:51, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Well, he’s pretty much backed off everything now. There were two investigations, and no evidence was found that Obama paid to plant a spy inside Trump's 2016 presidential campaign to assist Clinton to win the presidency as claimed by Trump in a false conspiracy theory named Spygate. O3000 (talk) 19:04, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Objective3000, hi there. Although I lean conservative in my politics, I'm mostly neutral with all things regarding to Spygate as I actually have not done my research thereof; in fact after reading some of the comments in defense of the contents on the article I'm, if anything, more convinced that Spygate is falser than I had initially thought. However I can't help but notice that, no matter your political biases, it is difficult to read the article without feeling an obvious agenda behind the article contents, either with a total dismissal of the allegations or with a premature conclusion to the allegations themselves. I would like to ask though: what would have to come out in order for you personally to be convinced that perhaps the rhetoric on the article regarding *conspiracy theory* or *falseness* be either curbed or entirely removed? I genuinely wish to hear specific answers and not cop-outs such as, "for *evidence* to come out. Thanks! -- Jeremy Ahn (talk | contribs) 22:48, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Ummm....our content is based on RS, not editor's opinions. RS have examined the allegations and issues, discovered what was really happening, and found there was no evidence behind Trump's claims (nothing new there), so RS called it a conspiracy theory, and rightly so. When RS change their minds, we will also change the article. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 23:29, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Hi Jeremy Ahn, and thanks for a polite response. What I believe is not relevant. I’m just a lowly editor. We use reliable sources. When they say something, we will document it. O3000 (talk) 23:50, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Even if the Spying was legal it clearly happened and is not merely a 'theory". The AG said he thinks it happened, that is a pretty major source. The discussion in this thread reveals mods who are too heavily biased. There needs to be a way for a vote of no confidence of the editors of this page and for new people to come in and take the reigns. Justncase80 (talk) 02:03, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

The Spygate theory is not that there was surveillance, but that there was surveillance within the Trump campaign for an improper purpose. R2 (bleep) 23:11, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 10 April 2019[edit]

April 2019[edit]

On April 10, 2019 – Attorney General William P. Barr, while appearing in front of Congress said the government did spy on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and continued that he would be looking into whether or not any rules or laws were violated. [1] Ptelesca (talk) 17:58, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

 Not done: "Did potentially"? He has no evidence of anything improper. – Muboshgu (talk) 18:10, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Can you provide a reliable source for your claim that the AG "has no evidence of anything improper"? Just because he has not revealed evidence publicly from an ongoing investigation does not imply the AG has no evidence, as you claim. Wookian (talk) 18:33, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Wookian, I gave it to you in the above section! The Axios link! SMH. – Muboshgu (talk) 18:35, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
If you want to shake your head, then shake away, my friend. Here's the money quote from Axios: "I have no specific evidence that I would cite right now." Not seing how that justifies your claim that he has no evidence. At the least, you should include the same qualifier. Wookian (talk) 18:38, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Wookian, you put the emphasis on the wrong clause. "I have no specific evidence" is him saying he has no specific evidence. The second clause refers to the imaginary evidence he believes is out there, but even though he has the whole Mueller Report, can't find. – Muboshgu (talk) 18:41, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Grammatically speaking, you are incorrect in your parsing of his sentence. This clearly could mean that he doesn't have anything that he wants to share at the present time. I agree that it could also mean that he doesn't have anything, however your analysis here is extremely POV driven. Question: how come I get threatened over potential BLP violations above for making completely factual, sourceable statements about Strzok, McCabe and Comey, but you are making wild claims about AG Barr's internal thought process here that reflect horribly on him as a law enforcement official? Are there different rules for the two sides of this debate? Wookian (talk) 18:47, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Wookian, if he had any evidence, he'd be shouting it from the rooftops. "I have no specific evidence" means "I have no specific evidence". The BLP warning is because Strzok, McCabe, Page, and Comey have all been inappropriately slandered over this. There is no evidence they did anything improper. (Except Comey's October 2016 presser to say there was new evidence on Hillary's emails when there wasn't.) – Muboshgu (talk) 20:47, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
@Muboshgu:Again, you're just cherry-picking Barr's words and making assumptions. The full quote is "I have no specific evidence that I would cite right now.", thus there is no conclusion to whether the claims are false. It would be irresponsible of him to give any specific evidence until he has thoroughly investigated the claims. We are to assume that the possibility that the Trump campaign may have been improperly spied on is nothing more than a false conspiracy theory, but for the past two years the Russian collusion theory has been totally creditable (even though Mueller's report now suggests it is false). This article gives WP:UNDUE weight to the opinion of journalists over that of the Attorney General. A truly neutral statement would be something along the lines of "the allegations have neither been proved or disproved."--Rusf10 (talk) 21:15, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
There is an important part of Barr's testimony that is being missed in this discussion: "There is a basis for my concern, but I'm not going to discuss the basis". You can search for that phrase and find many references to it.
Rusf10 is correct. And it seems a violation of BLP to claim that the US AG would "shout from the rooftops" evidence pertinent to an incomplete investigation. At any rate, it's just Muboshgu's opinion and irrelevant on Wikipedia. Clearly, the phrase "that I would cite right now" means "that I would cite right now" and Muboshgo would do better to acknowledge its ambiguity than to make wild claims about what goes on inside the AG's head. Wookian (talk) 21:21, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Wookian, the conclusion was made, long before Barr came along. Trump made up a bogus conspiracy theory about Obama paying people to sabotage his 2016 campaign. That's not at all what happened. The FBI began investigating the Trump campaign due to their sketchy ties to Russia. It's that simple. Ergo, this conspiracy theory is a conspiracy theory. It is false. – Muboshgu (talk) 21:24, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
"The FBI began investigating the Trump campaign due to their sketchy ties to Russia." The same sketchy ties which now do not appear to exist. According to the Mueller Report, "[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities" So what it sounds like to me is the real conspiracy theory is that Trump colluded with Russia.--Rusf10 (talk) 21:36, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Rusf10, wrong. That's not the Mueller Report. That's the letter Barr wrote allegedly summarizing the Mueller Report. Nobody (save Barr and Rosenstein) has seen the Mueller Report yet. And from some leaks to the New York Times and Washington Post, it seems like some members of Mueller's team are quite unhappy with how Barr presented that conclusion. Further, we know that the investigation began because George Papadopoulos told an Australian that he had access to Russian dirt on Hillary, and that Australian told the FBI. – Muboshgu (talk) 21:42, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
The suggestion that Barr incorrectly summarized major elements of the Mueller Report is a wild conspiracy theory and doesn't belong here. Per the NYT, the unhappy anonymous persons you are referencing are not even from Mueller's team, just people who claim to be familiar with their thinking. In other words, mere gossip and hearsay. Wookian (talk) 22:07, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Show one single piece of evidence that Obama paid a spy to infiltrate Trump's campaign. That is the conspiracy theory, and after two investigations, it turned out to be false. Barr is referring to the Russia investigation and saying he wants to review the FISA request. Nothing to do with Spygate. 22:14, 10 April 2019 (UTC)O3000 (talk)
I read my paragraph... then I read your reply... you appear to be changing the subject. Anyway. It is fascinating that Papadopoulos claims that Mifsud was an undercover FBI asset. If true, that would make the whole affair start and end with the FBI. Presumably if Trump declassifies the FISA warrants that particular question would be answered. Since Barr also mentioned in his remarks today that he doesn't believe the rank and file of the FBI did anything wrong, just some of the top brass, this interpretation would be consistent with his intention to review the FISA etc. Personally, Barr's remarks make sense to me. I think only if someone was still somehow stubbornly hanging on to the Trump campaign Russia collusion conspiracy theory would Barr's remarks not make sense. Wookian (talk) 23:27, 10 April 2019 (UTC)


Updated with "did spy" Ptelesca (talk) 18:28, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Ptelesca... which is factually inaccurate based on all that we know. – Muboshgu (talk) 18:28, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

The original article that I linked stated their was potential improper spying, I see Barr has since walked back those comments. Regardless this should be included in the article as it directly related to DJT's claims of being spied on. Ptelesca (talk) 18:30, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Barr testified that he thinks spying occurred. If this article is solely about Trump’s claim that someone tried to infiltrate his campaign, then it may be time to start another article about the Obama administrations larger attempts to spy on Trump’s campaign. If we have the AG openly testifying that it occurred we need to think about what we should do with it. Mr Ernie (talk) 18:32, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

The discussion is above. Please don't split it into two sections. O3000 (talk) 18:34, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Objective3000 has proven himself to be biased and should not be allowed to edit this page any further. Your changes were partisan and now, with recent reports, have been proven erroneous, which gives the entire site a bad look. Instead of maintaining the neutrality that was needed, an assumption of falsity was created. TheMemeMonarch (talk) 20:19, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

TheMemeMonarch, nothing in this page has been "proven erroneous" as far as I'm aware. Please point out specific things you think are inaccurate, with reliable sources to demonstrate. – Muboshgu (talk) 20:45, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Muboshgu, The issue is with the quote "false conspiracy". Barr has confirmed that Trump was spied on, criminal referrals are being made. Saying that it was "false" was even over-reaching at the time. It should be labeled "unproven" until such investigations are done. Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page).

— Preceding unsigned comment added by TheMemeMonarch (talkcontribs) 18:42, April 10, 2019 (UTC)

TheMemeMonarch At no point did Barr "confirm" Trump was "spied on". He said "I THINK". He provided no evidence of it. And even then, he was not talking about Obama putting a mole in the Trump campaign. He's talking about alleged FISA abuse. – Muboshgu (talk) 22:50, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Muboshgu, I agree confirmed is putting it too strong. However, the issue is not on whether the spygate conspiracy is true, at least, not at this time. This issue is whether it has been debunked. The answer to that is a resounding no. Journalists do not get to decide something is debunked before an official investigation is done. Considering criminal referrals are being filed, it is clear that this issue is not decided. To maintain npov, "false" should be removed or replaced with unproven. TheMemeMonarch (talk) 23:04, 10 April 2019 (UTC)


TheMemeMonarch, I think you misunderstand how Wikipedia works. We really do follow what the news reports and other reliable sources say. If they say the theory was debunked, then we say it was debunked. If they say it wasn’t debunked, then we say it wasn’t debunked. That’s how our community standards were made, for American politics as well as every other part of Wikipedia, in part to avoid these very sorts of acrimonious debates. If you have a problem with what the newspapers have written, then you can write letters to their editors or blog or tweet about it. But trying to depart from the reliable sources here on Wikipedia will be an exercise in frustration for everyone. R2 (bleep) 23:30, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Extended-confirmed-protected edit request on 10 April 2019[edit]

Spygate is a factual event that occurred where democrats illegally spied on the campaign of Donald trump. More to come. start here (talk) 19:14, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

 Not done: Did you actually read the link you provided? ""I think spying did occur," Barr said, though he declined to provide the basis for his concern." – Muboshgu (talk) 19:25, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

There is an issue with first sentence of the article[edit]

The situation is currently developing. Calling the whole thing false right out of the gate is giving the false impression that the situation is settled (its not as seen this article [1]), and that their isn't any investigations of ongoing speculation from official parties( which their is as seen here) [2]

It is in wrong to call an ongoing issue false before any real confirmation. The articles cited to make "spygate" seem false are committing the same mistake, and read more like opinion articles. I doubt the neutrality of this article and sentence. Jamescart (talk) 20:27, April 10, 2019‎ (UTC)

Barr didn't say one word about Spygate, a conspiracy theory that Obama paid a spy to infiltrate the Trump campaign to help Clinton get elected. And please people, quit splitting the discussion. O3000 (talk) 20:33, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Just because he didn't say the word "spygate" doesn't mean that its not painfully obvious what he was referencing. LOOK all I am asking for is that you guys change "false" to "Unconfirmed". That's it. Calm down — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jamescart (talkcontribs) 07:04, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
It is now official that it is not a "conspiracy theory" but an "investigation" based on The New York Times and Fox News articles cited in other sections. This story has been ongoing for some time, but it is headline news today and will be more so in the weeks and months ahead, except "Spygate" is only a small part of it. Nunes mentioned the conspiracy statute (18 U.S. Code § 371. Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States).[3] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Phmoreno (talkcontribs) 16:53, April 10, 2019 (UTC)
Show me where any source says there is any evidence that Obama paid a spy to infiltrate the Trump campaign to help Clinton. And don't use the word "scandal" in edit summaries. O3000 (talk) 20:59, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
IIRC, the claim is that Obama Admin ordered FBI agents to infiltrate Trump's campaign, not that a spy was privately hired by Obama SK8RBOI (talk) 23:26, April 10, 2019‎ (UTC)
Objective3000, you are anything but objective. The issue has been, and stills continues to be, the initial paragraph. You can't label something as false before an investigation has been concluded. With the new report, confirming that Trump was spied on, this over-reach is doubly egregious. False should be removed entirely or replaced with unproven. Anything else violates npov. TheMemeMonarch (talk) 22:55, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Oh dear. Two investigations have been concluded. No charges. And what new report are you talking about? I have seen no claim that any report claims Spygate is real. O3000 (talk) 23:53, 10 April 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ {{Cite news|url= Willliam Barr: 'I think spying did occur' on Trump campaign
  2. ^ Strohm, Chris (April 9, 2019). "Barr Forms Team to Review FBI's Actions in Trump Probe". Bloomberg. Retrieved 4/10/2019. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. ^ "18 U.S. Code § 371. Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States". Retrieved 2019-04-12.

Extended-confirmed-protected edit request on 10 April 2019[edit]

quintuplicate edit request O3000 (talk)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

In the first sentence, replace "false" with "disputed".

Insert a new second sentence: "On April 10, 2019, U.S. Attorney General William Barr testified before a U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that he believes 'spying' on the 2016 Trump campaign took place, but he is investigating if such spying was adequately predicated."

Source: FreshFact (talk) 21:05, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

  •  Not done: Four consecutive essentially identical edit requests. O3000 (talk) 21:10, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Extended-confirmed-protected edit request on 10 April 2019[edit]

In the recent confirmation that this spying absolutely did occur, Wikipedia's core integrity is on the line to pull this completely false article. (talk) 23:47, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

1. The request must be uncontroversial.
2. That happens after you have achieved a consensus.
BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 23:49, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

BARR has literally just announced that there was spying on Trump campaign[edit] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Soviet union comrade (talkcontribs) 21:55, April 10, 2019 (UTC)

"litterly" - Interesting choice of words.- MrX 🖋 22:49, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
I know right? D--- Russians... Don't mind me if I correct that. SK8RBOI (talk) 23:11, April 10, 2019‎ (UTC) SK8RBOI (talk) 23:12, April 10, 2019‎ (UTC)
This source shows AG Barr is reviewing the various claims regarding abuse of power by investigatory agencies under the Obama Administration. Is this new information reflected in the article, and if not, would an extended editor or Administrator care to rectify that? IMHO this article is lacking even in basic grammatical quality, let alone a comprehensive coverage of the topic, and to me the protected status given to it here appears to be stifling its development rather than fostering it. SK8RBOI (talk) 23:38, April 10, 2019‎ (UTC)
“I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I'm saying that I am concerned about it and looking into it, that's all” - Barr starship.paint ~ KO 13:01, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

"This source shows AG Barr is reviewing the various claims regarding abuse of power by investigatory agencies under the Obama Administration." -Me
Can we continue to declare it a definitively "false" conspiracy theory if the AG is "concerned about it and looking into it"? How best to incorporate this new information into the article? I reiterate my concern that the unusually stringent protected status given to this article appears to be stifling its development rather than fostering it. SK8RBOI 02:03, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

"false conspiracy theory"[edit]

Wiki needs to remove the proven false conspiracy theory for Spygate. We no know for 100% certainty that the Trump Campaign was spied on. This is not in question. The3taveren (talk) 23:52, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

The cited reliable sources disagree. The claim that Obama administration officials spied on the campaign for political purposes is, indeed, false. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 23:54, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
It's not false anymore. There's plenty of evidence, including FISA warrants, and text messages saying: "POTUS wants to know everything". Lots of "credible" sources call Spygate a false conspiracy theory, but they are wrong. KeithCu (talk) 19:34, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
KeithCu, please provide evidence from reliable sources (i.e., not Breitbart or any other conspiracy theory site) that verifies that "Spygate" was real, as opposed to actual, legal countersurveillance. I can see in a source like this one how we can come to different conclusions. Note, regarding the "POTUS" text message: "But it is not clear that the text message between the two refers to the FBI's investigation of Clinton. Johnson's report only says that the text "may relate" to the FBI’s Clinton investigation, since the Justice Department had redacted other text messages that related to other investigations. " – Muboshgu (talk) 19:43, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Breitbart isn't a conspiracy theory site. Sorry to read you believe that because I lose confidence in Wikipedia. This book lays it out in great detail: Here's an article that explains some history about the FISA warrants The NYT has done a bunch of reporting about the FISA warrants.
There's tons of evidence Trump was spied on. The editors need to wake up and realize that most of the mainstream media have been lying about this for 2 years, and calling the truth a conspiracy theory. Just imagine if Bush 43 had been embedding spies and wiretapping Obama. The media would treat it as a massive scandal instead of a conspiracy theory. KeithCu (talk) 20:04, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
KeithCu, Please check out Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Perennial sources. Breitbart is absolutely, 100% a conspiracy theory-based site and it is wholly unreliable for Wikipedia. If we can't agree on that, it's unlikely we'll agree on much else. – Muboshgu (talk) 21:49, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
There is zero evidence that there existed any embedded spies. Please be careful. You are making vile accusations against living people. Read WP:BLP. O3000 (talk) 21:52, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Calling Breitbart a conspiracy theory based site is ridiculous. Of course, I'm just here to point out that Spygate is not a false conspiracy theory. One can't hope to fix all the incorrect ideas believed by Wikipedia editors in one day. Too many here clearly live in the mainstream media bubble. There is plenty evidence of spies embedded in the Trump campaign, and that there was surveillance of basically everyone via the FISA 2-hop warrants. It's amazing people are cautioning me about making vile accusations of spying, instead of actually realizing it is true. Anyway, more evidence will come out, with future IG reports and declassifications. Don't expect to get admissions from the mainstream media who were wrong for 2 years on the Russia Collusion hoax.
The biggest problem with Wikipedia is that the "reliable sources" are in many cases just pushing official government storylines. It's amazing to see how many people here are implicitly defending unauthorized surveillance (by saying it didn't happen) and defending the politicization and weaponization of the US intelligence community for political purposes. Is it just a coincidence that so many here refuse to admit crimes by those agencies? Maybe they aren't paid, they've just had their minds manipulated by deep state leaks to the mainstream media, as Glenn Greenwald explains: KeithCu (talk) 22:53, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
KeithCu, there is no evidence of unauthorized surveillance. Period. Therefore, this is a conspiracy theory. – Muboshgu (talk) 23:04, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
There's an entire book written about it, I posted a link above. I'll bet reading it would blow your mind. Give it a shot, rather than being part of a mob defending crimes by the FBI and CIA. KeithCu (talk) 23:09, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Dan Bongino is not credible, he is a clown. Stop watching Fox News, they are lying to you. Are you among those who enjoy being lied to? soibangla (talk) 23:19, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
"There is plenty evidence of spies embedded in the Trump campaign, and that there was surveillance of basically everyone via the FISA 2-hop warrants" Where?
"Don't expect to get admissions from the mainstream media who were wrong for 2 years on the Russia Collusion hoax" I have yet to see any conservative sources provide a list of "all the things the MSM got wrong." Why is that? Surely they would've pounced on it by now. There are many, many indicators of Trump associates in contact with Russians in peculiar ways, but evidently (from what Barr has told us) Mueller was unable to connect the dots and hopefully his report will show why. Greenwald's relevance began and ended with Snowden. soibangla (talk) 23:14, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Dan Bongino, a Republican (who has run for office in two different states), is not someone to be believed. He has willingly gone onto Infowars. Here's an Associated Press fact check that debunks one of Bongino's claims. – Muboshgu (talk) 23:16, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Wow! KeithCu, I'm not sure how this would apply to Trump or this article (unless one believes in conspiracy theories that make such undocumented connections):

  1. "embedding spies" (No evidence that ever happened to Trump or his campaign.)
  2. "wiretapping Obama, and Wikipedia refused to acknowledge it, and only called it a conspiracy theory." (Trump was never wiretapped, but some of his campaign members were exposed because of electronic surveillance by multiple allied foreign intelligence agencies. They were listening in on conversations between Russian assets (this is real spying), and they incidentally heard them describe their secret dealings with Trump campaign members. Those contacts and coordination were not legitimate, and that's why those campaign members constantly lied about it, and some have been convicted for telling such lies. Manafort, Page, and Cohen were possibly surveilled because of such contacts, all legitimately and legally. If you are suspected of committing crimes, you get investigated. That's not political, but a national security and criminal investigation matter. Don't excuse such behavior. There was some discussion of wearing wires when meeting with Trump, but no evidence that ever happened. Everything about him, both his open and his secretive interactions with Russians and Putin, and his constant lying about all of it, created strong suspicions that he might be a witting or unwitting Russian asset. Surveillance was and is justified in such cases, but we have no evidence they did it. Maybe we'll find out. When RS say it happened, we'll include it at Wikipedia, but not likely in this article.)
  3. "unauthorized surveillance" (Any surveillance of Trump campaign members was legal and authorized. We know that Carter Page was the subject of a FISA warrant in 2013/2014, long before the Trump campaign, because of his suspicious dealings with Russian agents. In 2016, his actions and lies got him in trouble again, and after he left the Trump campaign he was again the subject of FISA warrants. Page, not the campaign, was surveilled.)

Seriously, Bongino is a horrible source. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 00:32, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Extended-confirmed-protected edit request on 11 April 2019[edit]

Remove "false" before conspiracy theory. There is much evidence now in the media that it was actually not false. Tigerman325 (talk) 02:03, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

See the replies to previous, identical, requests. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 02:52, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

Changed first paragraph of the lede[edit]

I have changed the first paragraph of the lede. [2]. The previous one was just triggering too many Trump supporters, who read “Spygate is a false conspiracy theory” and get triggered because they have their own idea of what Spygate is. However, Spygate in this article refers to the allegations or May 2016 and June 2016. So I have framed that first. As for what Spygate is about, that is already described in the lede via paragraph two and four. So I have removed the summary (second half of first paragraph) of the summary (lede) as essentially duplicate info in the lede. starship.paint ~ KO 13:07, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

Good change. O3000 (talk) 13:14, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
This article's significant flaws and inappropriate slant still remain after your change. The term "Spygate" gets to be defined by the accusers, not by lawyering words from the anti-Trump side. A congresswoman challenged AG Barr over the term "spy" yesterday, and he replied that we could call it "unauthorized surveillance" if she preferred. The term "spy" is a term in popular use and must be interpreted that way, just like Trump's claim that Trump Tower was "wire tapped" (quotes his) should be interpreted broadly to include the two hop surveillance (of both past and ongoing communications) that arose from the Carter Page FISA. Wookian (talk) 13:56, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
He said that he wasn't saying improper surveillance occurred. In no manner did he suggest that the claim promulgated by Trump that Obama ordered spying on the Trump campaign to help Clinton is anything other than a false conspiracy theory. And please AGF and stop with these "anti-Trump" claims. O3000 (talk) 14:07, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
A couple of points here: Your comment "AGF and stop with these anti-Trump claims" is a bit tone deaf in light of the comment above suggesting that editors who disagree with this article's slant are "trigger[ed]...Trump supporters." I wasn't even talking about Wikipedia editors, but rather chosen sources, which are anti-Trump. Maybe we could just build an encyclopedia here and focus on the content and not each other.
Also, WaPo suggests that AG Barr strongly implied he believes wrongdoing was committed by the "upper echelons" of the FBI and potentially wider in the intelligence community. Wookian (talk) 14:13, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
He specifically stated that he was not investigating the FBI. O3000 (talk) 14:22, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
You are correct. He is not investigating the FBI as a whole. Here's a quote[3]:
I think there was probably a failure among a group of leaders there, at the upper echelon. So I don't like to hear attacks about the FBI because I think the FBI is an outstanding organization and I think Chris Wray is a great partner for me. I'm very pleased he's there as the director. If it becomes necessary to look over some former officials' activities, I expect I'll be relying heavily on Chris and work closely with him in looking at that information. But that's what I'm doing. I feel I have an obligation to make sure that government power is not abused. I think that's one of the principal roles of the attorney general. Wookian (talk) 14:35, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
You don't get to make "Spygate" mean whatever the hell you want to it mean whenever it's convenient. The claim was that there was a conspiracy of Obama administration officials to spy on Trump's campaign for political purposes — that claim has been proven false. You can't turn around and go "Well but now I mean it's just that someone spied on the Trump campaign at all!!1!1? SCANDAL! TREASON! OBUMMER!" No, that's not a scandal — that was a legitimate counterintelligence investigation based on lawful warrants and reasonable suspicion. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 14:45, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Maybe it’s worth it to put a note at the top of the page stating this article is about the theory that Obama tried to put a spy in the Trump Campaign. For information about the Obama Administration’s investigations into the Trump Campaign see the Special Counsel page, for example. A lot of readers seem to be coming to this article expecting to be related to what Barr testified about. Mr Ernie (talk) 15:53, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Mr Ernie, that is because the definition of "Spygate" includes far more than what the Wikipedia article is suggesting here. "Spygate" is not just about Trump's claims that they put a spy in his campaign, it's about the entire FISA surveillance warrant against Carter Page and how that warrant was used as the basis for a Counterintelligence Investigation. Outside of this specific Wikipedia article, I have never seen anyone define "Spygate" so narrowly.
Your edit does absolutely nothing to correct the problem. You're just just carve something out to continue the narrative you want to present. Rather than, "false conspiracy theory", words like unproven or disputed would be acceptable. Bill Barr suggested that spying took place (whether it was legal or not is another question that has not been settled), so is Bill Barr now a conspiracy theorist? I dispute the neutrality of this article and in particular the lead.--Rusf10 (talk) 21:05, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Wookian - replying to your quote: The term "Spygate" gets to be defined by the accusers, not by lawyering words from the anti-Trump side. - no, the term Spygate gets to be defined by reliable sources. starship.paint ~ KO 01:05, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Also Wookian: Your comment "AGF and stop with these anti-Trump claims" is a bit tone deaf in light of the comment above suggesting that editors who disagree with this article's slant are "trigger[ed]...Trump supporters." - when I mentioned Trump supporters, I was referring to people on /r/the_donald [4], not editors here. Maybe some editors are Trump supporters, but I don't know and that doesn't matter. starship.paint ~ KO 00:52, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Mr Ernie: quoting you - Maybe it’s worth it to put a note at the top of the page stating this article is about the theory that Obama tried to put a spy in the Trump Campaign. - that's really the first sentence of the second paragraph in the lede right? If readers can't even get to the second sentence of the whole article.... shake my head. starship.paint ~ KO 01:02, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Rusf10: You're just just carve something out to continue the narrative you want to present. That's what reliable sources are presenting, so we do that. Rather than, "false conspiracy theory", words like unproven or disputed would be acceptable. If reliable sources say unproven or disputed, provide them. starship.paint ~ KO 01:04, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Starship.paint:Those are opinion sources which create an issue of WP:UNDUE since you're including it in the lead and you're presenting those opinions as facts rather than attributing them. Furthermore, those opinion pieces were all written before Bill Barr said he though spying did occur.--Rusf10 (talk) 01:59, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Can someone point out where in the three sources cited the word "false" is applied to the allegations? The only pace I see is in the Vox headline (not the body of that piece), which says that the allegation is false. But even that piece repeatedly says that there is "no evidence", just as the other pieces do, and Vox is obviously the most partisan of the three sources cited. Given that the piece itself (along with the other two pieces) criticize the theory as being unsupported by evidence, it seems to me that the description as "false" gives undue weight to the one Vox headline. Shinealittlelight (talk) 02:28, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Others (including myself) have been pointing that out for a while, and urging that we temper the language to that of the NYT or WaPo rather than the Vox opinion piece. It is difficult to make any reasonable, encyclopedic changes here when a Wikipedia moderator who endorses conspiracy theories (e.g. that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the election) is holding the keys and blocking encyclopedic neutrality. The reliable sources who actually talk about Spygate and give it the credibility that the AG's comments clearly justify giving it get rejected as unreliable (e.g. Solomon). I'm not aware that any right leaning source is being allowed here, only left leaning ones (could be wrong on that, happy to be corrected). Edit to add note: referring to sources used to justify speaking in Wikipedia's voice and characterizing Spygate in the first sentence. Clearly only left leaning sources are used for that. Wookian (talk) 13:53, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Plot twist[edit]

Agents involved in the Russia investigation asked Mr. Halper, an American academic who teaches in Britain, to gather information on Mr. Page and George Papadopoulos, another former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser. However, Mr. Halper also had additional contacts with other Trump officials that have raised concerns about his activities. In one instance, Mr. Halper reached out to Sam Clovis, a Trump campaign aide; it was not clear whether Mr. Halper had the F.B.I.’s blessing to contact Mr. Clovis. soibangla (talk) 17:15, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

About the only thing of relevance to this article is: “Mr. Halper’s contacts have prompted Republicans and the president to incorrectly accuse the F.B.I. of spying on the campaign” as it may be related to the genesis of this conspiracy theory. But, I wouldn’t look at including anything from this article until the review is completed – assuming RS get to see it. O3000 (talk) 17:25, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Yesterday Barr reframed "spying" as "unauthorized surveillance." it was not clear whether Mr. Halper had the F.B.I.’s blessing to contact Mr. Clovis soibangla (talk) 17:44, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
The term "unauthorized surveillance" is actually more damning than "spying;" nothing about the term "spying" implies improper conduct. "unauthorized surveillance" is no different in terms of meaning than "unauthorized spying," I fail to see why we need to make such pointless distinctions here.SIPPINONTECH (talk) 17:57, 11 April 2019 (UTC) SIPPINONTECH (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

Susan Rice Unmasking of Senior Trump Campaign Officials[edit]

This article is extremely biased - primarily in the assertion that Trump's claims that he was spied on have no merit. Susan Rice, President Obama's National Security Adviser (a senior Cabinet official and a political appointee,) was receiving intelligence reports on senior staff inside Trump's campaign, which she unmasked (de-anonymized.) Source. Rice was not only receiving briefings on the private communications of senior Transition Officials gathered via FISA surveillance warrant; she was also seeking identifying information on them. Source. It seems rather obvious that a Cabinet level political appointee inside the Obama Administration reading unredacted intelligence reports on the opposing Party's nominee is consistent with "Spying," and certainly would render Trump's Tweets, which this article claims are "false," at least partially based in reality. I feel that this article does an extremely poor job of representing some very concerning aspects of "Spygate," which do in fact raise suspicion that it is a bit more than a "conspiracy theory." — Preceding unsigned comment added by SIPPINONTECH (talkcontribs) 17:33, 11 April 2019 (UTC) SIPPINONTECH (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

From your source: "I didn't hear anything to believe that she did anything illegal," Florida Rep. Tom Rooney, a Republican helping to lead the panel's Russia invesigation, told CNN of Rice's testimony...Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican who is helping lead the House investigation, told the Daily Caller "nothing that came up in her interview that led me to conclude" that she improperly unmasked the names of Trump associates or leaked it to the press. soibangla (talk) 17:41, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Is your assertion that spying must be illegal in order to be properly defined as spying? Even if such surveillance was conducted in accordance with the Law, the fact that Cabinet level appointees in the Obama Administration were reading unredacted intelligence briefings on the opposing Party's campaign without their knowledge using a surveillance warrant issued by a secret court is absolutely consistent with "Spying." Whether that surveillance was conducted properly or improperly (itself a matter of debate) is irrelevant in terms of characterizing the underlying behavior as spying. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SIPPINONTECH (talkcontribs) 17:46, 11 April 2019 (UTC) SIPPINONTECH (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Agree with soibangla. This is old news. A few folks tried to make something out of what turned out to be common practice and part of her job. It was not spying on the campaign in any meaning of the word. O3000 (talk) 17:48, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Saying something is old news does not change the substance of my argument, which is that regardless of the legality of Cabinet level officials reading unredacted intelligence reports on the private communications between members of the opposing Party's campaign, such behavior can nevertheless still be construed as "spying." The definition of spying makes no reference to its legality. Reading the private communications of Campaign officials without their knowledge using electronic surveillance is completely consistent with any reasonable definition of "spying." That the National Security Adviser routinely engages in behavior that can be construed as "spying" is equally irrelevant to the point I am making here.SIPPINONTECH (talk) 17:52, 11 April 2019 (UTC)SIPPINONTECH (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Taking commonplace incidents and interpreting them in malevolent ways is at the heart of conspiracy thinking. And as our article on Conspiracy theory states about such: “… unnecessary assumption of conspiracy when other explanations are more probable Evidence showing it to be false, or the absence of proof of the conspiracy, is interpreted by believers as evidence of its truth, thus insulating it from refutation.” Let us not try to find conspiracy in every news item. There is nothing in your sources that indicate that the Obama admin was spying on the Trump campaign to help Clinton, as posited by Spygate. O3000 (talk) 18:00, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
I find the assertion that having Cabinet level appointees reading unredacted intelligence reports on the political campaign of the opposing Party is somehow "commonplace" to be thoroughly unconvincing. There is only one other time in American history when surveillance was conducted against a rival political campaign - and it forced a sitting President to resign from office. I also think it is interesting that you inserted the caveat bolded in the following quote: "There is nothing in your sources that indicate that the Obama admin was spying on the Trump campaign to help Clinton, as posited by Spygate." Are you under the impression that spying on the private communications of a political rival during an election would not reasonably benefit the party in power? Because that is an absurd argument. There is no need to prove intent here. The very existence of the spying in the first place would by definition help Clinton by harming her opponent. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 18:11, 11 April 2019 (UTC) SIPPINONTECH (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
You're making an assertion without any evidence that "the Obama admin was spying on the Trump campaign to help Clinton". Please stop making unfounded claims. – Muboshgu (talk) 18:47, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
I have provided sources where, in Congressional testimony, senior officials in the Obama Administration literally admit that they were reading unredacted intelligence reports on Trump Campaign/Trump Transition officials without their knowledge. This is consistent with the definition of spying. And as I have said elsewhere in this section, by definition, conducting a wide-ranging surveillance operation against a political campaign helps the opponent's campaign. Nothing I have said is the slightest bit unfounded, I think you are having difficulty separating your political beliefs from your ability to objectively evaluate the evidence I have provided. Especially considering your comments elsewhere in this article. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 19:17, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
No, you're suggesting that Susan Rice did something wrong or illegal, when there's no evidence of that at all. – Muboshgu (talk) 19:18, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
That's how you are interpreting what I'm saying - I never said Susan Rice did something wrong or illegal. In fact, I said that regardless of the legality, the fact that Susan Rice was reading the unredacted private communications of Senior Officials in Trump's Campaign/Transition can be construed as spying. Spying in and of itself is neither illegal nor immoral. Having said that, I think it's telling that you seem to see the behavior that Susan Rice herself admitted she engaged in was improper or illegal. It's kind of hard to avoid jumping to those conclusions when discussing a Cabinet level political appointee using the power of their office to conduct surveillance against members of the opposing Party's political campaign who are not under criminal investigation. Which is why it is relevant to begin with. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 19:24, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
SIPPINONTECH, I don't think she did anything improper or illegal. I'm used to editors coming to this talk page and other suggesting that. So, perhaps I am being too defensive and am misinterpreting what you're suggesting. But, what are you suggesting? We had an unprecedented situation in 2016 where Russia was interfering in our elections, and there was (and still is) good reason to think the Trump campaign was actively colluding with Russia to do it. So, Susan Rice took unusual actions for an unusual situation. None of them deal with "Spygate" as far as I'm aware, they deal with the Russia investigation. So, based on your bringing up Susan Rice in discussion, what changes to this article do you think should be made? – Muboshgu (talk) 19:29, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
I am suggesting that in actual point of fact Trump was spied on. That specific claim is absolutely not a "conspiracy theory." Susan Rice literally said in Congressional testimony that she was reading the unredacted private communications of Senior Trump Campaign/Transition members. The specific edit I would suggest here would be to include the articles I linked above in the "Background" section of the article, as the fact that Susan Rice has testified that she was reading unredacted intel on Senior Trump Campaign/Transition members is directly opposed to the following excerpt from that subsection: "Trump also made his Trump Tower wiretapping allegations in 2017, for which the Department of Justice has said evidence has yet to be provided." Regardless of what the Justice Department said, Susan Rice herself has testified that, not only was Trump's Senior Staff under electronic surveillance, that she herself was personally involved in said surveillance. There needs to be an excerpt in the background section that includes this information. Because it lends credence to Trump's claim that he was "wiretapped." SIPPINONTECH (talk) 19:41, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Did Susan Rice say that there was wiretapping of Trump Tower, in the manner that Trump alleged? – Muboshgu (talk) 19:48, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, as detailed in the sources above. Susan Rice testified before Congress that she unmasked the communications of Senior Trump Campaign officials (Trump's campaign HQ was located in Trump Tower.) So by definition there was wiretapping on Trump Tower, unless you want to play semantic games about the technical definition of "wiretapping."SIPPINONTECH (talk) 19:57, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Susan Rice was doing her job. If there wasn't concern about the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, she wouldn't have done what she did. There's no evidence that suggests that she passed along information to the Clinton campaign, that would be a serious breach. – Muboshgu (talk) 18:04, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
She did not need to pass information along to the Clinton Campaign in order to damage Trump's - the existence of a covert surveillance operation against a political campaign is by its very nature damaging to that campaign. You are setting the bar unreasonably high.SIPPINONTECH (talk) 18:15, 11 April 2019 (UTC) SIPPINONTECH (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
It wasn't an investigation of the Trump campaign. It was a counterintelligence investigation. soibangla (talk) 18:17, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
What's your point? Counterintelligence, if anything, implies spying. Certainly nobody inside Trump's Campaign or Transition was aware that widespread surveillance was being conducted against senior officials inside the campaign. That is consistent with the definition of spying. Regardless of how you want to label it, there were cabinet level officials inside the Obama Administration who were reading unredacted intelligence reports on senior Trump Campaign and Trump Transition officials. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 18:21, 11 April 2019 (UTC) SIPPINONTECH (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Please do not make unfounded accusations. WP:BLP applies. O3000 (talk) 18:35, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
I have made no unfounded accusations whatsoever. All of my claims are sourced in the articles linked at the top of this heading (CNN and Politico articles.) Cabinet level officials inside the Obama Administration - specifically Susan Rice - was reading unredacted intelligence reports on senior Trump Campaign/Transition officials. These officials were unaware that they were being surveilled (by definition - FISA warrants are issued in secret.) If you feel I have made an unfounded accusation would you point out which specific "accusation" you are referring to? SIPPINONTECH (talk) 18:54, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
You are pushing nonsense that was debunked long ago, after some concocted yet another fake scandal, in furtherance of their previous fake scandal that Rice lied about Benghazi to smear her. Have you ever considered the possibility that the people you believe and trust are lying to you? soibangla (talk) 19:02, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
You are bringing in extraneous details that have nothing to do with the subject of our discussion. Susan Rice, a Cabinet level political appointee in the Obama Administration was reading the unredacted private communications of senior Trump Campaign/Transition officials, who were not under FBI investigation. If you want to accuse me of being partisan or misguided, I suppose that is your prerogative. However, I have provided reputable sources for my assertions and you have failed to explain why those assertions are invalid. Obama Administration officials admitted in their own words to reading the campaign emails of their political enemies before Congress. In their own words. It wasn't the Republicans saying it, it was Susan Rice saying it. I believe that fact is significantly at odds with the tone and the tenor of this article. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 19:13, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
You haven't provided any evidence that Susan Rice did anything other than her job. You're talking about the counterintelligence operation as though it was illegal spying. It wasn't. Bringing up Benghazi was, I assume, a way of pointing out that Susan Rice has been a target of conspiracy theories from some on the right-wing. – Muboshgu (talk) 19:17, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Benghazi is completely extraneous to our discussion here and has no bearing on Susan Rice's testimony before Congress, in which she admitted to reading the unredacted private communications of senior officials inside the Trump Campaign/Transition Team. I never said anything about the legality of the spying, only that, in Susan Rice's own words, she did, in fact, engage in spying against the Trump Campaign. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 19:26, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
What you and right-wing sources (like Fox News and Breitbart) are calling "spying", reliable sources call "countersurveillance" as a result of Russian interference. These are not the same thing. – Muboshgu (talk) 19:49, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Can you explain to me how countersurveillance is inconsistent with the definition of spying? The definition of spy(ing) in the Merriam Webster Dictionary is as follows: "to watch secretly usually for hostile purposes." Either way this is a pointless semantic argument - electronic surveillance was conducted against Trump's Campaign/Transition, full stop. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 20:04, 11 April 2019 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by SIPPINONTECH (talkcontribs) 20:02, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
What hostile purposes? You keep suggesting conspiratorial stuff that has been firmly debunked. And none of your sources say anything like what you are posting here. O3000 (talk) 21:18, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
The definition reads: usually for hostile purposes. The purposes being hostile aren't a necessary condition for behavior to be consistent with spying. But I would argue that any counterintelligence investigation is hostile because by its very nature it is antagonistic toward the parties being investigated. (talk) 15:36, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Some further reading on this can be found here. I would ask the reader of this article to take a pause, and consider if perhaps having open testimony in Congress that the "Right Hand Woman" of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, accessing the private campaign emails of his political rivals unredacted in an election year, merits a bit more serious treatment than it is getting in this article. It is extremely, extremely disingenuous to call this a "conspiracy theory" in the title, accuse the sitting President of a lie in the first paragraph, and then quietly mention in your third paragraph the one thing about "Spygate" that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt happened: the Obama Administration did actually spy on Donald Trump's Campaign/Transition. Spygate isn't about Trump being a serial liar (despite its Background section,) it's a conspiracy theory that accuses the Obama Administration of conducting a far reaching surveillance operation into the Trump Campaign/Transition Team for political gain. I believe that in order to preserve a neutral point of view it at least bears mentioning that the "Right Hand Woman" of a Sitting President was engaged in spying on the rival campaign. No?

This information should be included in the background section. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 22:18, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

"the one thing about "Spygate" that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt happened: the Obama Administration did actually spy on Donald Trump's Campaign/Transition" Your flat assertion is flatly false and your contributions here are disruptive and nonconstructive. Please stop. soibangla (talk) 22:27, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Point of order: I have just presented clear evidence that my "flat assertion" is, in fact, true. Susan Rice was a member of the Obama Administration, and she spied on Trump's Transition team. She literally told Congress she received classified intelligence briefings that contained their private information. You need to remove your personal political preferences from this and instead of trying to lash out maybe explain specifically what you disagree with about my characterization of the reliable sources I have presented here. Would you prefer I used a euphemism for "spied?" SIPPINONTECH (talk) 22:38, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • SIPPINONTECH, I think you misunderstand how Wikipedia works. We follow what the news reports and other reliable sources say. If they say the Rice unmasking was evidence of Spygate, then we say that. If they say the theory was debunked, then we say that too. That’s how our community standards were made, for American politics as well as every other part of Wikipedia, in part to avoid these very sorts of acrimonious debates. If you have a problem with how the newspapers have handled Sygate, then you can write letters to their editors or blog or tweet about it. But trying to depart from the reliable sources here on Wikipedia, or drawing connections here that are not made by the reliable sources, will be an exercise in frustration for everyone. This is why you are encountering such stiff resistance. R2 (bleep) 00:05, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

If you want to redefine Spygate / If you think Spygate is NOT a false conspiracy theory[edit]

Then please provide reliable sources that explicitly mention what Spygate is. You can find reliable (or unreliable) sources at WP:RSP, and discussions at WP:RSN can point to the reliability of a source. How Wikipedia works is that we reflect what reliable sources say, and the more reliable sources agree, the more we will reflect it. Reliable sources, per WP:RS, are third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. So if a reliable source, say, the Associated Press, says: “Spygate is a dolphin”, and Reuters, AFP etc. agree, then we at Wikipedia report “Spygate is a dolphin”. If you want to redefine Spygate, you have to have reliable sources explicitly giving the alternate definition for Spygate. I’m not seeing that in many (or even any) proposals on this page. starship.paint ~ KO 22:19, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

No, reliable sources do not need to be provided to show that Spygate is not a false conspiracy theory. The burden of proof lies with making the assertion that it is a conspiracy theory (and hence false). If we do not have reliable sources demonstrating this, then the article needs to be edited to say only this is a theory of alleged spying, without taking a position on whether it is true or false. Wingedsubmariner (talk) 03:23, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • You really should read the article and sources before speaking. The RS say it's false and a conspiracy theory, which Trump pushed without evidence. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 03:58, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No, if reliable sources say Spygate is false, we report it to be false. This is how Wikipedia works. starship.paint ~ KO 03:57, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Hypothetical example 1 - reliable source: “Susan Rice watered the plants” - not acceptable, no mentioned link to Spygate
  • Hypothetical example 2 - reliable source: “Susan Rice watered the plants, and that is Spygate” - acceptable, linked to Spygate
  • Hypothetical example 3 - unreliable source: “Susan Rice watered the plants, and that is Spygate” - not acceptable, unreliable source
  • Hypothetical example 4 - reliable source: “Susan Corn authorised paying a spy who was implanted into the Trump campaign for political purposes” - acceptable, relevant to May 2018 allegations
  • Hypothetical example 5 - reliable source: “Susan Corn authorised the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign to start in June 2018” - acceptable, relevant to June 2018 allegations. starship.paint ~ KO 23:12, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

Here is a source from Aug 11, 2019, that refers to "Spygate" in the title. Notice that the source doesn't mention a single thing about Halper or other spies planted in the Trump campaign. It is strictly about the electronic surveillance of the Trump Campaign/Transition Team by Obama era Cabinet level officials. It's you, who is trying to redefine what "spygate" means. Nobody who actually refers to Spygate in contemporary sources and articles conceives of it as being strictly limited to Trump's claims in 2016/17. Nobody outside of this article, anyway. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 00:50, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

I'm not surprised he didn't mention Halper. You linked to an opinion column by James S. Robbins. Opinion pieces are not RS. Halper doesn't fit his narrative. – Muboshgu (talk) 00:54, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
The fact that it is an opinion piece has literally nothing at all to do with the point I am making, which is that Spygate is understood to mean something different than what you're saying it means. What are you even arguing here? Are you trying to tell me that the writer of the article doesn't understand what Spygate is really about, he's using the term incorrectly? Someone should tell the editor... Regardless, your point is entirely moot. Here is another source, that isn't filed under opinion (that I can tell,) which defines "Spygate" as the following: "The Russian probe led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Use of the word “spying" to describe that initial investigation echoes the language of President Trump and some of his more strident supporters who call the probe 'Spygate.'" You are completely off base here. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 01:01, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • *@SIPPINONTECH: Sorry I'm trying to keep up with your old statements. For your second link above (NY Daily News), per WP:RSP, There is no consensus regarding the reliability of the New York Daily News. The New York Daily News is a tabloid newspaper that publishes tabloid journalism. A more reliable source is preferred. starship.paint ~ KO 01:24, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @SIPPINONTECH: - thank you for your effort. For your first link, see: WP:RSOPINION - Some sources may be considered reliable for statements as to their author's opinion, but not for statements asserted as fact ... A prime example of this is opinion pieces in sources recognized as reliable. - You're using an opinion for a statement of fact. starship.paint ~ KO 01:16, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Again, here is a non-opinion article, both contemporary and not an opinion piece, in a reputable source, that defines Spygate as the broader investigation - and not specifically about claims that spies were planted in the campaign (although that is a part of spygate.) This article defines Spygate as follows: "a term referring to allegations the FBI spied on (Trump's) 2016 campaign." SIPPINONTECH (talk) 01:20, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Here is yet another article, both contemporary and not an opinion piece in a reputable source, that defines "Spygate" as the following: "Last year, the president tweeted about “Spygate,” a term referring to allegations the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign." No mention of spies being planted in the campaign specifically, it's referring to the broader investigation. You are narrowing the definition of "Spygate" well beyond its usage. Spygate is about Halper and Mifsud, yes, but it's also a more general term used to refer, as the article says, to "allegations the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign." The article is redefining "Spygate" in a way that is incoherent with its colloquial usage. As a general comment, if you don't even understand what "Spygate" is, you probably shouldn't be contributing to articles that talk about it. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 01:06, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

  • This (Newsweek) appears to be alright. There should be further discussion on how to incorporate this "“Spygate,” a term referring to allegations the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign." starship.paint ~ KO 01:28, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

And for good measure another contemporary, non-opinion, reputable source referring to "Spygate" as follows: "The so-called "spygate" scandal, which relates to alleged FISA abuses by the intelligence community, has been frequently promoted by defenders of President Trump. It has not been corroborated." SIPPINONTECH (talk) 01:24, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

  • @SIPPINONTECH: - Axios' reliability hasn't been really discussed in WP:RSN / WP:RSP. I know that Axios has broken some news regarding the Trump administration. If we at Wikipedia can reach a position on Axios' reliability, and agree that it is reliable, then yes, this source, and this definition, can be looked for inclusion. This isn't a rejection of this source. starship.paint ~ KO 01:41, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Apologies to the people reading through this, I am still getting a hang of how Wikipedia works in terms of sourcing. I will refer to the source list before I claim another one is reputable. Here is a 2nd Newsweek article that refers to "Spygate" as follows: "The president has repeated addressed the matter several times since taking office in January 2017. Last year, Trump tweeted about “Spygate,” a term he apparently coined to refer to allegations that the FBI spied on his 20116 campaign team." SIPPINONTECH (talk) 01:37, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

  • @SIPPINONTECH: - That's also okay, just a note that that is the same Newsweek author (Christina Zhao) on a different article. Same as above, this does appear reliable, discussion is needed on how to incorporate this.. starship.paint ~ KO 01:45, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @SIPPINONTECH:, context matters. Keep in mind that contemporary sources do not define what THIS "Spygate" refers to. It is the original assertions by Trump on May 22 which do that, and he referred to a spy (who was Halper), and claimed the spy was planted inside the campaign. There is no evidence any spy, especially Halper, was part of the campaign. None. Trump made a very specific claim which was false, and myriad RS said so. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 04:03, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

@BullRangifer: .... but perhaps this article can mention alternate definitions of Spygate, which were also based on Trump's campaign. starship.paint ~ KO 04:18, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

The fact that context matters is precisely why it is important to properly define what "Spygate" means. You are basing your definition off of information that is both incomplete and outdated. "Spygate" includes the Halper and Mifsud allegations, but as is abundantly clear based on the articles I have here provided, it also includes other aspects of the wide-ranging FBI investigation into Trump's Campaign/Transition. If anyone is ignoring context here, it would be the authors of the article, who narrowly focus on outdated sources to narrow the definition of "Spygate" beyond its colloquial usage and meaning, to such an extent that one wonders if it is intentionally ignorant in order to avoid discussion of some very real, proven and concerning aspects of the far-reaching counterintelligence operation conducted against a political campaign by the Obama Administration. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 12:02, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Regarding the new sources that keep being brought up, what exactly does anyone think they show? It's journalists documenting that the usual suspects are having the usual debate. The conservative talking heads are jumping all over Barr's statement, the democrats are pushing back, and various sites are documenting the debate. Spygate doesn't stop being a conspiracy theory as far as Wikipedia is concerned simply because Tucker Carlson said so, even if Newsweek reports that he said it. Someguy1221 (talk) 04:33, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Are you having difficulty understanding what this subheading is about? The articles provided by me and others in this section show that the definition of "Spygate" used by the author of this Wikipedia article is incorrect. The authors of the article are saying "Spygate" is specifically about the FBI planting, or trying to plant, human intelligence sources inside Trump's campaign. In reality, "Spygate" refers to the wide-ranging efforts by the FBI to surveil the Trump Campaign/Transition, including the (proven) use of FISA warrants, (proven) electronic surveillance, (proven) unmasking of Trump Campaign officials who were not under FBI investigation by senior members of Obama's Cabinet (See "Susan Rice" section above this,) etc. The authors of this article are essentially constructing a strawman here by using an extremely narrow definition of "Spygate" that only focuses on the unproven aspects of a larger unfolding scandal for which there is ample public evidence - some of which I have provided above concerning senior officials in Obama's cabinet reading the private communications of senior Trump Campaign officials who were not under FBI investigation. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 11:50, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • What about USA Today? This [1] mentions both the subject of Barr's investigation and "Spygate" as regarding the same entity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 05:36, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • It's already been explained to you that that is not a reliable source. Someguy1221 (talk) 19:01, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
... unreliable for statements of fact but reliable for the author's opinion, it must be presented as the author's opinion. starship.paint ~ KO 23:41, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

This page needs to be edited immediately[edit]

It's extremely embarrassing that this article was allowed to be edited and Frozen in such a politically biased and incorrect state. It never should have been allowed to be phrased in this manner, since it is been shown to be true that he was indeed spied upon and therefore there was clearly no evidence to show that it was merely a conspiracy theory.

Please rectify this mistake immediately. There needs to be a way to allow editing and discussion around these types of things rather than just freezing editing of an article that is clearly wrong and salacious.

The article should say a "conspiracy directed at" president Trump, or something along those lines.

At the very least you must remove the righteous yet innacurate beginning and disambiguation headline as it is today. Justncase80 (talk) 01:57, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

I Agree. If nothing else, the quotation concerns in the banner must be addressed, the grammar of the article must be corrected, and the information in the lede paragraph must be updated to reflect recent developments. This is impossible with the current protections as it seems that no Administrators or extended editors are willing to do the work themselves, or that those who are will have their contributions reverted within the hour. The status and treatment of this article reflects very poorly on Wikipedia as a community and genuinely makes me question the motives of its most influential editors. Not even the Special Counsel page has this level of protection. Do we have so little faith in the ability of Wikipedians to moderate their own content? — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 02:11, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
@Starship.paint: Having now read the section you mentioned, how best to you believe we should integrate the sources mentioned by SIPPINONTECH? Are you prepared to make the necessary adjustments or will you allow this shameful article to remain in stasis? I reiterate: This article needs to be edited immediately. Can we continue to declare it a definitively "false" conspiracy theory if the AG is "concerned about it and looking into it"? "It" here encompassing the proposed new definition for the conspiracy theory known as "Spygate", which has yet to be accepted and incorporated into the article despite the provision of reliable sources that support this change.SK8RBOI 02:32, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @SK8RBOI: - we simply have to first discuss more on the alternative definitions on Spygate. We have to obtain consensus on how to include the other reliably sourced info. Only after alternative definition is included, then Barr's "think"ing is relevant. starship.paint ~ KO 04:13, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @SK8RBOI:, based on the crazy patterns of editing on this talk page in the last couple days, we need to slow things down in order to establish a consensus, not rush into something in error. – Muboshgu (talk) 04:20, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Starship.paint and Muboshgu: Certainly I agree with the need to establish a consensus; my concern is that the current "consensus" was prematurely established and is at the moment grossly outdated, being founded on sources from a year or more ago, and is now enshrined by protections that preclude the ability of ordinary editors to correct it. People come to Wikipedia for information; this page is inaccurate and inadequate and cannot be modified, and now, as the topic becomes relevant to current events, you say it is time to slow down the correction process? I unreservedly disagree with that aspect of your proposal. What error do you fear?
  • If you genuinely believe Barr's "think"ing (investigation by the US Attorney General) is a different and separate topic from "Spygate", would you support the creation of an new, independent article? Or do you believe this new information, derived from reliable sources, might be more relevant here? To be fair, we can always merge the two topics later. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs)
  • @SK8RBOI: - on a new article, the article needs to be specific about what it is talking about. There needs to be enough reliable source agreeing that they are talking about the same subject. Then the subject, and the article, will be considered notable. This whole talk page is overloading my brain, I can't recommend what to do, sorry. starship.paint ~ KO 00:00, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Starship.paint: What about "Illegal Surveillance on the 2016 Trump Campaign"? Plenty of articles talk about that without mentioning Spygate by name. If Spygate doesn't include in its definition all notable allegations re: illegal spying, then those allegations need a different home under a different title; they constitute parts of a broader topic that includes the narrowly-defined Spygate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 00:16, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • You'd have to find RS which document it. No "illegal" surveillance has been shown to exist. Also, the words "spy" and "spying" are being thrown around, often without mentioning Spygate, as a means to make the legitimate investigation into Russia's interference in the election and any possible connections to the Trump campaign look bad and illegal. Those investigations were/are legitimate, not illegal. They were never directed at the campaign for political purposes, but because the campaign was so deeply involved with Russians for no legitimate reasons, and they always lied about these secret meetings and contacts. That demands investigation, so it happened.
The only investigation that could be considered political was the production of the Steele dossier, and even then, Steele didn't know he was working for the DNC or Clinton campaign until much later. He was told to find out why Trump was so deeply involved with Russia, and that's when he found information that really alarmed him, and unlike the Trump campaign, he took that information to the FBI, which was the right thing to do. His actions were not political, but because of national security concerns. That's what motivated him to be against Trump. He saw Trump as a threat to national security, and history has shown him to be correct. -- BullRangifer (talk) 00:32, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @SK8RBOI: - personally I would go with Allegations of illegal surveillance on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, since they haven't been proven. If they are eventually proven, then Illegal surveillance on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. Of course, this article would need to establish notability, read WP:GNG. starship.paint ~ KO 09:27, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Very fair points all around. Given the news coverage the last 2 weeks I'd hazard a bet they are notable or are at least becoming notable but I'll definitely look into it. Thanks for the suggestions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 22:01, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

The attorney generals statements of this week are pretty credible and I have seen them discussed already in other discussions around this page, yet the editors are dismissing them. This is why there needs to be a meta discussion around not only the article but those guarding the false narrative it embodies.

Because the righteous tone of this page is far from accurate. This situation is not a clear cut "false conspiracy theory" and should have never been allowed to be classified as such, as it appears to actually have been mostly true.

If the attorney general says that he thinks that spying did occur, properly or not, then this article is inacurate and needs to be edited and the gatekeepers fighting against these corrections should be considered for dismissal or at least removed from political article moderation.

This is a major embarrassment for Wikipedia. Justncase80 (talk) 02:27, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

“it is been shown to be true that he was indeed spied upon” No it hasn’t. soibangla (talk) 03:29, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

page isn't even marked[edit]

Normally a page with such an extreme level of dispute would be marked as such, right at the top of the page. The lack of any such marker is shameful. (talk) 02:02, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

"False conspiracy theory" in lead[edit]

Should the lead contain the phrase "false conspiracy theory"?


  • No- As proposer. Given the statement by Attorney General Barr that he believes spying did occur, dismissing this a conspiracy theory is inappropriate. A neutral statement should however include that the allegations are unproven.--Rusf10 (talk) 02:29, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No The Attorney General is "investigating" and "concerned" about the abuses described by the conspiracy theory, even if he would never use the term "Spygate" to describe them. It is dishonest to continue to name the claims enumerated in this article as outright falsehoods when they are just now coming under official scrutiny. "Unproven" is accurate. "False" reflects outdated RSs. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 02:31, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • If the Attorney General does not describe anything as Spygate, how do we know he is talking about Spygate? You’ve defeated the argument for using whatever the Attorney General said. starship.paint ~ KO 10:01, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Forget about Newsweek, then. Allow me to quote my unanswered question. "If you genuinely believe Barr's 'think'ing (investigation by the US Attorney General) is a different and separate topic from 'Spygate', would you support the creation of an new, independent article? Or do you believe this new information, derived from reliable sources, might be more relevant here? To be fair, we can always merge the two topics later." SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 17:46, April 12, 2019‎ (UTC)
This is a SPA account with very few editsVolunteer Marek (talk) 02:14, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
What exactly are you insinuating, Marek? — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 18:42, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No More neutral language should be used SJCAmerican (talk) 02:35, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No The sources cited in support of the claim that the allegations are false do not say that they are false, with one exception: the Vox headline. But Vox is the most partisan source cited, and even the Vox piece (aside from the headline) only claims that the allegations are unsupported. And that's all the other sources say as well.Shinealittlelight (talk) 02:35, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Please see section "False vs. Unsupported" below for more discussion of this point. Shinealittlelight (talk) 10:48, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Another good point if true; headlines alone do not qualify as reliable sources.
  • Yes Really? Four comments so quickly? This is a conspiracy theory, plain and simple. It's a hoax. To call it "unproven" suggests it could be true. It's not. – Muboshgu (talk) 02:56, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
consensus is Rolling Stone is only to be used if attributed, see Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Perennial sources In my opinion, really should not be used at all after the University of Virginia rape story. Since it hasn't been discussed since then at WP:RSN, maybe its time to look at whether Rolling Stone should be used as a reliable source at all, but we'll leave that issue for another day.--Rusf10 (talk) 03:03, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Rusf10, try the BBC, then. Or any of a number of sources from the green lighted sites. – Muboshgu (talk) 03:09, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Both of these were written prior to Barr making his statement to congress.--Rusf10 (talk) 03:23, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Rusf10, the statement he walked back during the same hearing after saying he had no evidence to change previous conclusions. – Muboshgu (talk) 03:37, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
For at least the third time, that's not exactly what he said, the full quote was "I have no specific evidence that I would cite right now"--Rusf10 (talk) 03:40, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
I have no specific evidence that I would cite right now that Ted Cruz's father killed Kennedy. That doesn't make it an "unproven" theory. – Muboshgu (talk) 04:18, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
With all due respect an anonymous wikipedia contributor saying something about a topic he has no involvement in and the attorney general of the united states saying something he very much would have involvement in are two very different situations SJCAmerican (talk) 06:44, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • ... but the attorney general has not said this is Spygate. Relevance has to be established starship.paint ~ KO 08:48, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I have provided you with ample evidence in this talk section from sources deemed reputable by Wikipedia, which define "Spygate" as "allegations that the FBI had spied on his 20116 campaign team" Source. This is a contemporary article by a reputable source. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 13:55, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Adding Newsweek is Step 1. Then, we look at adding other things, although it would definitely, 100% be better if whatever article explicitly mentions Spygate. What’s going on is people are putting Step 2 first. starship.paint ~ KO 14:59, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Not everyone sees it that way. Some would say step 1 should already have happened, but for some reason has been delayed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs)
  • SK8RBOI Even if Step 1 has been delayed, I feel that you still need to take it step by step. Establish what Spygate is via consensus, then elaborate. Now there is no consensus for the other definitions in this article, so the elaborations can't magically go in unless people provide an abundance of reliable sources, which people are NOT doing. There's been like 2 reliable sources, from the same author on Newsweek. There's been 1 Axios and 1 RealClearInvestigations, both of which haven't been confirmed as a reliable source, they need to go to WP:RSN to get confirmed as reliable. Trying to do too much at one time loses the focus of editors, then we can't get consensus on anything much. starship.paint ~ KO 23:58, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No It isn't yet clear if it is false. There is also the pointless redundancy of "false" and "conspiracy theory" together. Wingedsubmariner (talk) 03:16, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    • This is a fair point. "Conspiracy theory" is enough. It doesn't also have to say "false". But "unproven" is misleading. – Muboshgu (talk) 03:37, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes soibangla (talk) 03:52, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes as of now because reliable sources report it to be so. Beyond the Newsweek source SIPPINONTECH brought up just a few hours ago (of which discussion is obviously ongoing), the rest of the sources, as presented in this article, present Spygate as a false conspiracy theory. Right now there are 55 sources in this article regarding this definition of Spygate. The opposers haven’t provided enough reliable sources explicitly connecting to Spygate to even establish an alternative definition as a minority viewpoint. Until then, this article should not be changed. starship.paint ~ KO 04:00, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Where in the current reliable sources is it said to be false (other than the Vox headline)? The sources consistently call it unsupported, not false. Shinealittlelight (talk) 10:50, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No Reliable sources certainly do not all agree. For example: [2] Periander6 (talk) 19:34, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • That’s an opinion piece, only reliable for the author’s opinion and not for facts. And please sign your comments. starship.paint ~ KO 08:44, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes - do not change anything until RS say otherwise. Barr saying its real does not make it real, anymore than if Donald Trump says it. --Gonnym (talk) 07:28, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No obviously, per my comments in the above sections and the nominator. Anyways, saying something is a false conspiracy theory is an oxymoron and should be improved regardless. Mr Ernie (talk) 10:18, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes - Clearly what reliable secondary sources state, and we follow RS. Spygate is the conspiracy theory that Obama hired spy(s) to infiltrate the Trump campaign to help Hillary Clinton. No evidence of this has ever been provided. No spies have ever been named. Barr's statement has nothing to do with Spygate. Barr was referring to actions approved by multiple FISA judges as a part of an investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election. FISA judges do not approve of infiltrating campaigns to influence elections. We should not allow imprecise language that suggests the Earth is flat. WP:RS O3000 (talk) 10:57, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No as it is a fundamental mischaracterization of both what "Spygate" refers to, and as a result a misrepresentation of the very real and growing public evidence for the underlying scandal. "Spygate" refers to the broader investigation by the United States' intelligence apparatus including the FBI's Counterintelligence Division against members of Trump's Campaign and Transition Team. It is not about Halper or Mifsud specifically, although certainly the alleged attempts at intelligence gathering by human sources should be included under the broader umbrella of "Spygate." The bottom line is that the definition used in this article is far too narrow. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 12:25, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Hi, I moved your comment from the Discussion section below to this section. starship.paint ~ KO 12:49, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes, in part because the "no" option prescribes a particular alternative that is much worse. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 14:01, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes - We follow reliable sources, not the pronouncements of politicians. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 14:04, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No - it's bad grammar in its redundancy. A theory is basically conjecture. Example: (1) John is spreading false information about a conspiracy theory to dismantle the power grid. (2) John's conspiracy theory is based on false information. Until proven otherwise, a theory remains a theory. Example: (1) The allegations of extortion were fallacious and motivated by conspiracy theories which led to investigations that failed to provide substantive evidence. Further, spying, surveillance, investigation - all similar but not necessarily illegal unless proven to be by a preponderance of evidence. Surveillance did take place without the knowledge of the people who were being surveilled - spying is defined as "secretly obtaining information". Semantics. Atsme Talk 📧 15:35, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes per existing sources. Barr is not an independent source from the subject, so his statements carry zero weight in and of themselves; and currently, secondary coverage is still treating it as a conspiracy theory. --Aquillion (talk) 19:56, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes. We follow what RS say, and Barr's statement does not change the fact that Trump pushed an accusation, without evidence, which has never been proven to be true, but was in fact false. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 21:33, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes. Many new editors here misunderstand how Wikipedia works. We really do follow what the news reports and other reliable sources say. If they say the theory was debunked, then we say it was debunked. If they say it wasn’t debunked, then we say it wasn’t debunked. That’s how our community standards were made, for American politics as well as every other part of Wikipedia, in part to avoid these very sorts of acrimonious debates. If editors have a problem with what the newspapers have written, then you can write letters to their editors or blog or tweet about it. But this recent campaign to depart from the reliable sources here on Wikipedia leads to nothing but frustration. R2 (bleep) 00:21, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes Per sources. End of the story.Volunteer Marek (talk) 01:36, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes per the unanimity of the reliable sources. EllenCT (talk) 02:36, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No. It's clear that members of the campaign were under surveillance, making at least part of the theory true. Contrary to what many are saying here, the reliable sources do not generally declare "Spygate" to be false. They often discuss whether the real surveillance which is known to have happened amounts to what Trump is calling "Spygate." I see the attempt to put the phrase "false conspiracy theory" in the lede as blatantly political, and this sort of political editing has become a major problem in the American Politics subject area. -Thucydides411 (talk) 06:55, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
Every conspiracy theory has an element of truth to it. Your logic seems to be akin to saying that Pizzagate wasn’t false because John Podesta did in fact e-mail people about pizza. R2 (bleep) 07:13, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
This is quite a bit different from Pizzagate. One of the central claims, of surveillance of members of the campaign, is true. The question of whether or not the surveillance was politically motivated is not settled. There is certainly abundant evidence of anti-Trump bias among some high-ranking officials in the FBI (e.g., the texts which have been published, and the discussions about removing him from office using the 25th Amendment). It's also true that some of the surveillance was leaked to the press in order to damage Trump and his associates (e.g., Flynn's conversations). Calling "Spygate" a "false conspiracy theory" in this context is extremely misleading. It smacks of political posturing, not the type of neutral presentation we're supposed to be giving here on Wikipedia. -Thucydides411 (talk) 08:22, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
The exact same logic could be applied to Pizzagate. One of the central claims, that Podesta discussed pizza, is true. The question of whether he was actually referring to pedophilia is not settled between believers and the reputable media. There is certainly abundant evidence that many of Podesta’s colleagues went out for pizza with him and that many children had birthday parties at his favorite pizzeria. It’s also true that Podesta’s e-mails were leaked to WikiLeaks in order to damage Clinton and her associates. Calling Pizzagate a “false conspiracy theory” in this context is, to its believers, extremely misleading. To its believers, it smacks of political posturing, not the type of neutral presentation we're supposed to be giving here on Wikipedia. R2 (bleep) 09:57, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't think you find that argument convincing. There's more than a slight difference in plausibility between these cases, as I'm sure you see. -Thucydides411 (talk) 13:02, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No.Per WP:NPOV and WP:WEASEL, language must remain neutral to avoid bias. Calling it a conspiriacy theory definitely has negative connotations. Mgasparin (talk) 07:30, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
Not how WP:NPOV works. We follow the reliable sources, even if the facts they convey appear biased to some. R2 (bleep) 09:47, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
starship I guess you have a point. Thanks for explaining that. Mgasparin (talk) 08:42, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes. I think saying a "conspiracy theory that has been shown to be false" (current version) is fine. My very best wishes (talk) 16:28, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No- For the same reason that the original dossier has not yet been labelled a conspiracy theory. Shtove 09:21, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Shtove, but, unlike the Steele dossier, nothing about Spygate has been verified. Some of the dossier has been verified. – Muboshgu (talk) 19:12, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • NO - Basic good LEAD behaviour is first define the topic. Wait until at least line 2 for judgemental remarks, and ideally it would be the closing para of the lead. The “conspiracy theory” is already label enough, and the next few paras provide more. At the moment, the lead ‘shown’ is overkill looking like a big BIASED sign. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 21:13, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No, because "unproven allegation" is more suitable to this case. Ktrimi991 (talk) 15:27, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No. Sources provided by "yes" !voters are outdated. The "no" wording can be improved much, though. (I am not watching this page, so please ping me if you want my attention.) wumbolo ^^^ 11:38, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
    • @Wumbolo: - if you claim so, where are the up-to-date sources then, could you provide them? We can take this to the Discussion section if you want. starship.paint ~ KO 11:58, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep the current wording; there is no doubt whatsoever that this is a false conspiracy theory.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:21, 22 April 2019 (UTC)


3- Spygate refers to the conspiracy conducted by the Justice Department under the Obama Administration to surveille Donald Trump's Presidential campaign.

In the "no" option you provide, allegedly is no longer relevant as the AG has stated he thinks it did happen. Also, the use of the word "illegally" is not accurate as it could have actually been legal. If it we're legal it does not mean that it did not happen. Justncase80 (talk) 02:33, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

─────────────────────────ALERT - possible meatpuppetry for this page and thus maybe this RFC also /r/the_donald [5] There is a big argument between Wikipedia editors on "Spygate" here. Clearly some of them suffer from TDS. starship.paint ~ KO 03:29, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

@Starship.paint:I strongly suggest you strike that allegation. The page you linked has not had a post since I began the RFC. Please don't muddy the waters.--Rusf10 (talk) 03:45, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Rusf10: - this isn't an allegation against you. That page clearly links to this article. People will click and come here. It doesn't need to have more posts. starship.paint ~ KO 03:54, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I never took it as an allegation against me, but you're still muddying the waters.--Rusf10 (talk) 03:56, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't see how I am confusing people, if that's what you mean by "muddying the waters". starship.paint ~ KO 04:01, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • It's not muddying the waters. The waters appear to have been muddied already, if you catch my drift. It's not you, but there is some suspicious activity here. – Muboshgu (talk) 04:23, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I too am concerned about some of the conclusions being leapt to here. The existence of the link is worth noting, as is the observation that it is a dead post. Can we now address the questions being asked and the challenges raised? That "meatpuppetry" comment rings like one of those that blames each and every dissenting opinion on "Media Matters" and "the shills". I invite you to apply some of your customary skepticism here. This is a popular and controversial topic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 04:30, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • This post [6] 15 hours ago, 5000+ upvotes, 280+ comments, is not so 'dead' (the first post, at 5 hours old, can hardly be considered dead either), and also links to this page. starship.paint ~ KO 05:03, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • "Too many people have tried to edit the fake news out of this title in the past 24 hours, so Wikipedia has locked it from editing" AFAICT This is not an inaccurate assessment. But where does the OP then suggest people go and try to flood the talk page? How many people read that post and commented, and how many new editors arrived? Do you see how your assumptions do not help your case? If I find the treatment of this article alarming and concerning, imagine how the "conspiracy theorists" must feel. People are concerned by the treatment of this article because this treatment convinces them of everything they have been saying. The thread is an expression of genuine concern, not a call to arms. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs)
  • @SK8RBOI: - the main problem is - the people coming from that thread, they might not be new to Wikipedia, but they are not experienced enough to know how Wikipedia works. If you’re calling this fake news, in my opinion, you don’t know how Wikipedia works in reporting what the reliable sources say, and you probably haven’t read this article and understood it. What people should be doing is bringing out reliable sources to support their view. But this is not what is being done. That’s the problem. starship.paint ~ KO 08:43, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not mischaracterize my argument. "Fake news" here is not my words, but nevertheless clearly refers to the special treatment of the article title. Spygate (conspiracy theory by Donald Trump) is a terrible title, highly controversial, without precedent, and reflects an ugly bias. What is frustrating is the lack of progress being made about affecting that change, and the lack of progress regarding the implementation of RSs that have already been nominated for inclusion in the article, and the lack of progress made regarding changes to the article as a consequence of these RSs, and the lack of serious consideration for the RSs that could be legitimately used if the first sources were to be included. This barricade prevents the development of an article that is becoming relevant to current events, and as such it is not unreasonable to suspect this barricade exists to serve political means. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 18:01, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Just like to point out that 2 editors who haven't edited or actively edited in almost a month found and replied to this RFC in less than 5 minutes, and 1 more editor who hasn't edited in about 3 weeks found the RGC in less than 1 hour. starship.paint ~ KO 03:45, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    • @Starship.paint: I've also been suspicious of some sort of advocacy campaign to stir this up over the last few days. I already brought this to the attention of Wikipedia:Requests for oversight. – Muboshgu (talk) 03:48, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      • Well, if there were future meatpuppetry, if they read my comment, they might very well edit some other pages before coming here. starship.paint ~ KO 04:05, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
        If you are referring to me, yes I did read the reddit post and yes I did come here and create my account because I find the article egregiously false. Nevertheless, I have provided you with helpful information that is very relevant to the construction of this article elsewhere, and I think that information should be treated seriously and respectfully. I have been respectful of Wikipedia and its rules and done my contributions are in good will - I believe there is objective evidence that suggests this artice is inaccurate, both in its definition of "Spygate," and its characterization of it as a "false conspiracy theory." I think you would do well to continue to address those concerns seriously, rather than cry foul because you have a problem with the people bringing those concerns to your attention SIPPINONTECH (talk) 13:46, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
        @SIPPINONTECH: - thank you for telling the truth. I do take your concerns seriously. I do think people are coming in good faith. But, I also do think that we have established policies like WP:RS to follow. You did respond appropriately. I was actually thinking of creating a separate section to discuss how to include the Newsweek source by Zhao, and I was going to advise you to open a WP:RSN on Axios to get it certified as reliable by the community, then we could discuss how to add the Axios source in the article too. But the problem is with the RfC and the requested move, this talk page has gone into chaos. I’m not sure how to get agreement when there are so many discussions at once. Had more editors followed your lead and answered my calls for a reliable source, I think you would have more success. But now the cart is before the horse, and that can’t be undone. starship.paint ~ KO 14:26, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      • FWIW this page was brought to my attention by this unusually worded RfC on another page: "Any further editor input on Talk:Spygate (Donald Trump conspiracy theory) would be appreciated. It seems that as a result of the Barr letter, many on the Right are trying to reopen the debate about the validity of counterintelligence on the Trump campaign or whatever they claim was going on. I have a busy day today IRL." Many on the Right might reasonably suspect "meatpuppetry" or some kind of "advocacy campaign" when editors use language like this. Remember, the reddit thread you pointed to never suggested coming here to combat the many on the Left who are stonewalling the development of this article, so consider where you are throwing your stones from. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 19:20, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Just a note regarding the proposal of this RfC - Rusf10 - you’ve proposed this, which is a content dispute, and offered no reliable sources to back up your claim. starship.paint ~ KO 10:03, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

  • The reliable sources are plenty, they are any and all RS that report Barr's statement before congress which is still something that the article still completely ignores. CNNFox News Washington Post, take your pick--Rusf10 (talk) 02:15, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    • None of these sources mention Spygate. Therefore it seems to me that these sources don't relate Barr's testimony to Spygate, and this is exactly why the article 'ignores' it. starship.paint ~ KO 02:57, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

Requested move 12 April 2019[edit]

Spygate (conspiracy theory by Donald Trump)Spygate (2016 United States presidential election) – To make the artilce title neutral as per the reasoning in the above RFC. Rusf10 (talk) 02:56, 12 April 2019 (UTC) --Relisted. Paine Ellsworth, ed.  put'r there  16:53, 22 April 2019 (UTC)


  • No It's a conspiracy theory. That's neutral. – Muboshgu (talk) 02:57, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Please read WP:RM#Commenting in a requested move Paine Ellsworth, ed.  put'r there  16:36, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support- as proposer.--Rusf10 (talk) 02:58, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support At the very least, "by Donald Trump" needs to be removed. We do not include the author of a conspiracy theory or other idea in its title (No "Evolution (theory by Charles Darwin)"). Wingedsubmariner (talk) 03:14, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No. We base our content on RS, not on the latest headlines, developing stories, or unreliable, fringe sources which push this conspiracy theory. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 03:19, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No — Trump coined the term, he owns it. Darwin did not coin or even use the term “evolution” soibangla (talk) 03:25, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Darwin is credited with the idea. If you need a better example though, it is not "Relativity (theory by Albert Einstein)". Wingedsubmariner (talk) 03:34, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    He is credited with formalizing it with the scientific method, but evolutionary theories predated him. Einstein used math to formulate his theory. Trump just blurted out yet another of his countless baseless notions he makes up from nothing. He owns it. soibangla (talk) 03:39, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Conspiracy Theory (conspiracy theory) seems to be a sufficient format for all other claims of this type and calibre. I do not see why this article continues to enjoy such a special treatment. "Spygate (conspiracy theory)" is both neutral and accurate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 03:53, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    This is an account with very few edits.Volunteer Marek (talk) 02:21, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    This is an account with too much free time on his hands. I have more enjoyable hobbies than arguing on the internet, as you may have guessed. Considering as you just acquired 5+ edits to your edit count by spamming this message, maybe now you can let it go. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 19:32, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No - the RFC has barely started, how can this move be based on that RFC? Furthermore, how many comments here advocating for change actually bring up reliable sources to support their stance? starship.paint ~ KO 04:03, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Something that is currently being investigated by both the Department of Justice (per AG Barr's comments) and by the Office of the Inspector General should not be titled a conspiracy theory. It is frankly ridiculous that this outrageous example of political bias has been allowed to stand for so long. [3] Periander6 (talk) 05:03, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Again, this is an opinion piece, only reliable for the author’s opinion and not for statements of facts starship.paint ~ KO 10:06, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support AG Barr IS investigating spying of Trump by previous Obama/Whitehouse - correct this bullcrap. Wikipedia is and has become the world's largest purveyor of fake history thanks to pre$$ure applied by global corporations, politicians and elites. moefuzz (talk) 06:21, April 12 2019 (UTC)
    This is an account with very few edits, especially recently.Volunteer Marek (talk) 02:16, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Is it because you disagree with someone that you accuse members out of the blue? Seems like an attack on a long term member, nothing more nothing less moefuzz (talk) 05:05, April 13, 2019 (UTC)
  • Support With recent development I can not understand how this can be considered just a "conspiracy theory" anymore, more an unproven allegation SJCAmerican (talk) 06:37, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - You should let the RfC run its course before trying to backdoor it via a page move. This is still a conspiracy theory, like many other Trump ones. --Gonnym (talk) 07:29, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support The title currently violates neutrality given available sources. Shinealittlelight (talk) 10:48, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Massive back-and-forth argument. Please use the extended "Discussion" subsection for this sort of thing, or you make the entire RM difficult for everyone else to follow.
  • By listing no sources, your argument is devoid of substance. starship.paint ~ KO 11:43, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Consider this source [7]. It confirms that four campaign staffers--Manafort, Flynn, Papadopolous, and Page--were surveilled by the FBI starting in 2016, and that Page and Clovis were directly contacted by FBI informant Stephen Halper "over the course of the campaign". The piece goes on to say "Whether these acts constitute “spying” is the less interesting part of the question...The important part is that he and Barr claim it was targeted “on a campaign."" I'd like to see the article reflect this more even-handed approach. The FBI surveilled and sent informants to several members of the Trump campaign starting in 2016, and they at least partly depended on the Steele dossier--an unproven list of outlandish claims that was funded by political opposition to Trump--to get authorization for some of this surveillance. I can understand there being some disagreement about whether this constitutes spying. But let's not pretend that there is no reasonable controversy here. Relatedly, it's nuts that the article currently doesn't mention the Steele dossier. Shinealittlelight (talk) 12:16, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      @Shinealittlelight: - the key problem is that the article you provided, while reliable, doesn’t mention Spygate. starship.paint ~ KO 13:43, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      "Spygate" is currently characterized in the wikipedia article as an attempt to "plant a spy" in the Trump campaign. I provide a WaPo article according to which four campaign staffers, including the chairman of the campaign, were under FBI surveillance, and it says that a spy was sent to two people in the campaign. And now you say that this information is not a relevant source because the source doesn't use the term 'spygate'. I'm not sure what to say to that. How about: in light of the facts in the piece I cited, I think it is a violation of neutrality to describe the view that the FBI was spying on the campaign as a conspiracy theory in the title of the wikipedia article. Shinealittlelight (talk) 14:03, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      • @Shinealittlelight: - the May allegation was that a spy was implanted into the Trump campaign. That means the spy literally joined the Trump campaign. Talking to campaign members does not mean joining. By that logic, a whole bunch of journalists also joined the Trump campaign. starship.paint ~ KO 14:31, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
        The May allegation was that Halper had been paid to spy on the Trump campaign. By your logic, Trump did not realize that Halper was not a member of his campaign, which is not plausible and is not supported by any RS. Shinealittlelight (talk) 14:54, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
        So you admit that Trump claimed something which he didn't know and didn't happen. Yes, that's a false claim made by Trump. This article is correct. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 15:07, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
        @Shinealittlelight: No, the RS is clear. NYT, WaPo, Vox at least. Halper was never part of Trump’s campaign. That’s why what Trump said is a conspiracy theory. Of course it’s possible for Trump to not know who is in his campaign. Trump is the same guy who called Steve Bannon a staffer (Bannon was the chief White House strategist and campaign CEO), who called George Papa a mere volunteer (George was a foreign policy adviser who was in meetings with Trump) and who called Michael Cohen a “PR person” and a “rat” after calling him a “great lawyer” and a “wonderful” person. Of course Trump can be wrong or a bullshitter. starship.paint ~ KO 15:15, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
        @Bullrangifer, far be it from me to deny that Trump has made some false claim. But I don't see what that has to do with the issue at hand, which is whether the current title of the wikipedia article violates neutrality. I have argued that the title does violate neutrality. My argument is that RSs report that the FBI surveilled several members of the campaign and sent a spy to several of them, and the title of the article should not (per neutrality) characterize everyone who regards this as "spying on the Trump campaign" as a conspiracy theorist. That argument does not require me to endorse the truth of everything Trump has said on the topic of spying. @Starship, so you're saying that because Halper was not officially part of the campaign, but only offering to help out the campaign with info, the whole theory that the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign is neutrally described as a conspiracy theory. What can I say--this view goes well beyond any RS, and isn't plausible at all. Shinealittlelight (talk) 15:22, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      Spygate was the Trump claim that Trump Tower was wiretapped. Your source specifically states that this was a false claim. The FISA stuff is covered in other WP articles. O3000 (talk) 12:25, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      The fact that it is covered elsewhere is completely irrelevant. The issue at hand is that the article about Spygate does not define Spygate accurately. The fact that certain aspects of Spygate are discussed in other Wikipedia articles doesn't somehow change the definition of Spygate, which this reputable source defined as follows: "allegations that the FBI had spied on his 20116 campaign team." You are completely wrong about the definition of "Spygate," you have been proven wrong already in this talk page, and nevertheless continue to double down to the point of absurdity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SIPPINONTECH (talkcontribs) 14:05, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      @Objective3000: - I believe you are mistaken. [8] WaPo says that Spygate is new and that the wiretapping allegations predated Spygate. I would ask that you strike your comment. starship.paint ~ KO 13:40, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      However it's framed, WaPo does not claim there was any conspiracy of any kind against the Trump campaign. O3000 (talk) 13:44, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      • @Objective3000: - I didn’t say that. I was referring to this quote of yours: Spygate was the Trump claim that Trump Tower was wiretapped. this is inaccurate in light of the WaPo source. That is what I am requesting you strike. starship.paint ~ KO 13:47, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      No one in any reliable source uses 'spygate' for the narrow claim that Trump Tower was wiretapped. Indeed, the wikipedia article currently characterizes spygate as the claim that there was a conspiracy to spy on the campaign. If you want to use 'spygate' for the more narrow claim, you're going to need a source, and the article is going to need to be almost completely rewritten. Shinealittlelight (talk) 12:31, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      No reliable source states there was a conspiracy to spy on Trump campaign either. No reliable source says there was any conspiracy against Trump of any kind. O3000 (talk) 12:35, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      Objective3000, the article says Spygate was a false conspiracy theory that the Obama administration tried to plant a spy inside Trump's campaign. It does not say (your words) the Trump claim that Trump Tower was wiretapped. According to the article it had nothing to do with the Trump Tower wiretapping, and indeed this isn't mentioned. Can't you understand now why some of us think the article is wrong or misleading? Mr Ernie (talk) 12:38, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      That would also be a false conspiracy theory. O3000 (talk) 12:41, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      I just provided a WaPo piece above that said four Trump campaign staffers were surveilled and two met with an FBI informant (i.e., a spy). I didn't say that it was a conspiracy, and I didn't say that the WaPo said it was. The point is that reasonable people can disagree about whether this constitutes spying on the campaign. As a result, the title of the article should not take a side. Also, the RSs consistently say that the theory is unsupported, not false. Shinealittlelight (talk) 12:44, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      The article in no way supports the concept that there was any conspiracy of any kind against the Trump campaign. Indeed, it concluded that Trump's use of the word "spy" was political in nature. (Which is to say he was pushing a conspiracy theory.) O3000 (talk) 12:53, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      Again, I never claimed that the piece supported the idea that there was a conspiracy. The issue is whether a reasonable person could regard surveilling four campaign staffers and sending a spy to two of them as "spying on the campaign". I think it's obvious that a reasonable person could think this. The title of the article should reflect this rather than taking a side. Shinealittlelight (talk) 12:59, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      We use reliable secondary sources, not our own opinions about what may have happened, how some have characterized possible events, what actual evidence may exist, and what "reasonable people" might think. This is going nowhere. I'll go edit something else for a time.O3000 (talk) 13:04, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      Agreed, as I've indicated, reliable secondary sources state that the FBI surveilled four campaign staffers, including the chairman of the campaign, and sent a spy to talk to two people in the campaign. The current title suggests that it is a conspiracy theory that the campaign was spied on. This is manifestly biased in light of the information about what the FBI did in the reliable sources. We don't write titles of articles to reflect our political opinions, but try to summarize what the reliable sources indicate in a neutral way. Shinealittlelight (talk) 13:12, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      You keep repeating the same thing. The parts of what you are saying that are documented by reliable secondary sources are included in the appropriate articles on Russian interference in the 2016 election. But, no RS has stated that this was a conspiracy against the Trump campaign. That is a false conspiracy theory. I realize that there are people that believe in conspiracy theories. That's their problem. This is an encyclopedia. O3000 (talk) 13:38, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      Please stop repeating the thing we agree about as if we don't agree. We agree that the RSs do not directly say that there was a conspiracy. What the RSs say is that four campaign members were surveilled and a spy was sent to two of them. These are facts and not a conspiracy theory. And these facts reveal the current title of the piece as biased. I don't expect that you will agree with me at this point, but please stop mischaracterizing my point. Shinealittlelight (talk) 13:48, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      -gate means scandal. There was no scandal. That's a false conspiracy theory. The stuff you keep pointing out is in the applicable articles. O3000 (talk) 13:56, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      Er, I agree that -gate means scandal. Whether Spygate is a scandal is not under discussion. What is in other articles is not under discussion. The question is whether it is a violation of neutrality to call spygate a conspiricy theory in the title. I have argued that it is a violation of neutrality based on the RSs, and specifically based on the WaPo piece I linked. Again, you won't agree, but please stop mischaracterizing my point. Shinealittlelight (talk) 14:09, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      When your key campaign officials talk with people known to be linked to hostile foreign intelligence services, it's not a "conspiracy" or a "scandal" or "deep state treason" when the FBI investigates what's going on. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 14:12, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      Whether Spygate is a scandal, treason, or a conspiracy is not under discussion here. I agree with you that RSs don't characterize it that way. But RSs show that the FBI surveilled several members of the campaign and sent a spy to talk to several of them as well. And it isn't neutral to characterize people who think that the FBI was thereby spying on the campaign as believers in a false conspiracy theory. Shinealittlelight (talk) 14:20, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - for the same reasons given in the above RfC. Why do we have two related RfCs at once? The Earth is not flat and Spygate is a conspiracy theory according to reliable secondary sources. O3000 (talk) 11:02, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Collapse-boxing another long-winded squabble.
  • The fact that users are comparing this to Flat Earth theories is very telling. No NPOV whatsoever in this article. Revision badly needed. Flat Earth theory, and TDS, and the fact that this article "Triggers Trump Supporters" as was said above, betray an overtly political intent with regard to editing the article in my opinion. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 12:41, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Another SPA account with very few edits.Volunteer Marek (talk) 02:17, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    "Please remember that a comment should not be dismissed merely because it comes from a new account; in itself, this is an argument to the person, considered to be rather weak."[4] I invite you to assume good faith.— Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) —Preceding undated comment added 20:16, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    Gee, how did an account with just a few edits find an obscure Wikipedia policy so fast?Volunteer Marek (talk) 02:33, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    Is it really so obscure, or is my sarcasm plugin not working? This site has helped me with my research since I have been old enough to do research. I used the search bar. How does an account with so many edits not know how to apply the guidelines of the policies he invokes? — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 19:22, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support There is ample and growing evidence that this is not a "conspiracy theory," nor do I think it's fair to say that it's "by Donald Trump" as the underlying accusations have been made and repeated by many people, including the Attorney General of the United States. Part of the issue seems to stem from a misunderstanding by the authors of what "Spygate" is referring to. "Spygate" refers to allegations that the FBI and possibly other Federal agencies were conducting a far-reaching intelligence gathering operation against Trump and Trump's Campaign/Transition team. See the section above, in which several contemporary, reliable sources were provided that define "Spygate" in this way. In point of fact - objectively - there is ample public evidence that spying did occur against members of the Trump Campaign. The FISA warrant against Carter Page has been public knowledge for quite some time, and Susan Rice testified before Congress that she personally read intelligence reports on Trump Campaign/Transition Team members in which she unredacted the names and other personal identifying information of Trump Campaign/Transition members. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 12:37, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Yeah, no. Article title reflects what reliable sources say. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 14:00, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - As with the other RfC, my !vote here is less about passion for the current way things are worded, but an alternative presented that's much worse. In this case, the full phrase "conspiracy theory by Donald Trump" could be reworded/changed in some way, but not to something as unclear as what's proposed. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 14:04, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support especially now that the focus is on whether the spying was legal or not rather than if it really happened. -- That Guy, From That Show! 14:11, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Counterintelligence happened. No spies were inserted into the campaign. That's what Trump claimed. – Muboshgu (talk) 14:22, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - This article accurately reflects anti Trump fervor of left leaning media from back before the Mueller Report was completed and reported on[9], however is woefully out of date now. It is an embarrassment to Wikipedia, and looks like it could have been written by Adam Schiff. This article needs updating to reflect the truth that any reasonable definition of "spy" or "spying" is perfectly accurate to describe what the FBI and/or US intelligence agencies did to Trump and the Trump campaign[10]. It needs to prominently highlight Barr's admissions[11][12] and his investigation. Wookian (talk) 14:17, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
And another threaded discussion ...
  • @Wookian: - #1 is an opinion, #2 is not opinion, but RealClearInvestigations or RealClearPolitics have yet to be established as reliable at WP:RSN or WP:RSP, suggest you get consensus on the reliability on WP:RSN then we can discuss incorporation of this source. #3 does not mention Spygate. #4 is opinion as well. starship.paint ~ KO 14:49, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Wookian, you cited a Fox News opinion piece. And what is ""? Is that related to "realclearpolitics", another right-wing site? Also, no spies were inserted into the campaign, as Trump has claimed. – Muboshgu (talk) 14:21, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    • When did realclearpolitics become a right-wing site? Last I checked they have opinion pieces from both sides of the aisle.--Rusf10 (talk) 14:27, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      • Rusf10, when it was founded? It has a right-center bias. It does post opinion pieces by both sides though, you're right about that. – Muboshgu (talk) 14:33, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
        • What proof do you have that is a reliable source?--Rusf10 (talk) 14:46, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    • If somebody was murdered by a pickaxe and Trump made the accusation that they were murdered by a garden hoe, it would be absurd for Wikipedia to frame the whole issue as a false conspiracy theory on Trump's part. It doesn't make a big difference whether Trump phrased things perfectly accurately (he often fails to phrase things accurately, per many of our reliable sources). What is significant and carries encyclopedic weight (per AG Barr) is whether this rather unusual spying on political opponents was adequately predicated. Why is it bad for a site to be "right leaning"? The NYT and WaPo are left leaning. What's important is whether we can credibly source facts from a particular source. Wookian (talk) 14:34, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Also need to get rid of all of the fake news propaganda and tell what actually happened.Phmoreno (talk) 14:23, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
And another ...
  • You're still calling RS "fake news"? That should earn you a topic ban for working against our RS policy. That repeated claim is evidence you are NOTHERE to follow our policies, but to push your fringe beliefs based on unreliable sources. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 15:01, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Perhaps by "fake news" he or she is referring to the idea that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. That is a conspiracy theory that has been advanced by a moderator on this very talk page recently, even though any source worth its salt would describe it as "fake news" if advanced today, and some sources credibly point out that it was fake news as pushed for the last two years by disgraced left leaning TDS afflicted news outlets. In light of this, I suggest you back off and recognize that being here to build an encyclopedia can sometimes (shocker!) involve recognizing that top tier, marquis reliable sources sometimes get things painfully wrong. That doesn't discredit everything they say, rather it's a messy world out there and we have to pay attention to how we source things and never do so in blind faith. Wookian (talk) 18:34, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
      "some sources credibly point out that it was fake news as pushed for the last two years by disgraced left leaning TDS afflicted news outlets" I am still waiting for a conservative source to publish a list of "all the things MSM got wrong." Can you cite any? If not, maybe you and others should stop asserting it. soibangla (talk) 18:44, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support move. The Attorney General of the United States, who is a subject matter expert on this topic, just clearly said, in Congressional testimony, that spying was done on the Trump campaign. Therefore, by definition, this can no longer be considered a conspiracy theory. It has been confirmed by one of the highest officials in the US government. AppliedCharisma (talk) 15:03, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
And another ...
  • This is another account with very few edits.Volunteer Marek (talk) 02:22, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    That's flatly untrue. Barr, under questioning, hemmed and hawed and then said he thought there was spying. He then backed off that answer repeatedly and said he had no evidence of wrongdoing. O3000 (talk) 15:08, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    NorthBySouthBaranoff, who appears to be a regular editor of this article, below just stated that there WAS surveillance on the Trump campaign. So, it doesn't seem to be a matter of debate that there was spying. The only question is if it was legal and/or ethical. That's not a conspiracy theory. AppliedCharisma (talk) 15:16, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    No, that's incorrect. I said there was surveillance of people associated with the Trump campaign. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 15:17, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Read the AP article (my bold), "The president’s comments came a day after Barr testified at a congressional hearing that he believes “spying did occur” on the campaign, suggesting the origins of the Russia investigation that shadowed Trump’s presidency for nearly two years may have been mishandled." We say what RS have published. Atsme Talk 📧 17:40, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support move. WP is an encyclopedia and what we have as a title now is more like a news headline. Atsme Talk 📧 17:40, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. WP:RS and WP:V require that a source be independent of the subject; since Barr is not, we cannot treat his personal opinions as facts. We can only treat them as factual if they are reported as fact in secondary sources, which clearly isn't the case yet; absent that, we have to go by what independent sources say, which is that this is a conspiracy theory. Edit: I'd also support "Spygate (Conspiracy theory)" or comparable formulations as long as they mention that it's a conspiracy theory. --Aquillion (talk) 19:50, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support As per proposal description and Attorney General William Barr's statements on the matter. Aviartm (talk) 20:29, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
And another ...
  • Aviartm, you mean how he made an unreliable statement without producing any evidence, and then walked it back later in the hearing? – Muboshgu (talk) 20:54, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No one should be assuming what contents and contexts Barr was implying. He's knows more than we do and we should go off his recommendations and actions. And I do not recall any backtracking done by Barr. Irregardless, my vote does not wither. Aviartm (talk) 22:07, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. The parenthetical disambiguation should not be used in a biased way as it is here. Its sole purpose is disambiguation from other articles of the same name, and should be neutral as to the subject matter. Rreagan007 (talk) 21:41, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per Atsme & Rreagan007; couldn't have said it better myself. Ideally, the parenthetical term would be universally agreed on. Looking at Spygate (permalink), we don't have to be that specific at all, since the other contenders are in the domain of (American) football and Formula One, so I'd even be fine with a shorter title. Enterprisey (talk!) 01:03, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - Current title is unbalanced, unencyclopedic, and far too wordy. —Torchiest talkedits 01:28, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    • The title you support is no less wordy, and is even longer: (2016 United States presidential election) at 42 characters and 5 words, while the original (conspiracy theory by Donald Trump) is 35 characters and 5 words. starship.paint ~ KO 07:03, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No because of the proposed alternative title. Movig it to simply Spygate (conspiracy theory) would be fine though. However, given that there has been a coordinated off-Wiki effort to brigade and bias the results of this RM [13], this particular RM should be closed and a new one should be opened with a proper alternative title and a semi-protected talk page.Volunteer Marek (talk) 01:41, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - This title is very biased and inaccurate. We know the spy's name. His name is Stefan Halper. He was sent in by the Obama administration to gather intel from the Trump campaign (no collusion with Russia, per Mueller) but not the Hillary campaign (helped purchase dossier of fake Trump dirt from the Kremlin). It's pretty rich for people to use the No Evidence! excuse after shrieking that the president is a Russian agent for over two years. And no, I wasn't sent by reddit. That's a conspiracy theory. Galathadael (talk) 01:49, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
And another ...
  • Another SPA account with very few edits.Volunteer Marek (talk) 02:23, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Galathadael is probably a good example of someone who hasn’t read the entire article, or, to be more precise, someone who hasn’t even read until the second sentence of the lede. Trump’s allegation was that there was a spy IMPLANTED into his campaign for POLITICAL PURPOSES. As reliable sources (and this article’s lede and body) report, Halper, the FBI informant, did not join Trump’s campaign, so he could not be IMPLANTED in it. So Trump’s allegation is a conspiracy theory. starship.paint ~ KO 11:46, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support alternative Spygate (political conspiracy theory). This doesn't mention Trump by name and doesn't hide the fact that it's a conspiracy theory. I believe this is more neutral than either name, and I hope it is a suitable compromise. – bradv🍁 03:08, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I have no problem with such a construction, and it's frankly shorter and more elegant anyway. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 03:09, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    • That's my preferred title as well.Volunteer Marek (talk) 03:52, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I prefer that as well. Enterprisey (talk!) 06:39, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    • This is better than what is originally proposed. Masem, you were in favour of shortening the title, so I’m alerting you. starship.paint ~ KO 11:46, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
      • I still think it can be shortened to "(conspiracy theory)" but this works as well and avoids any potential BLP from the name only. --Masem (t) 14:09, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I support this alternative, especially since others are promoting Spygate now as well. Proposer's version is not NPOV as there's broad consensus among RS it's a conspiracy theory. It also conflates the focus of the article, Trump's unfounded accusations that the FBI was illegitimately monitoring him in early 2016, with the well-known legitimate investigation they were doing on Russian interference in late 2016. I think it's best to keep the "political" part in because the conspiracy isn't about whether the FBI found evidence of criminal activity in the Trump campaign in late 2016 at all, it's about when the investigation started and if it was political. Safrolic (talk) 22:24, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. The proposed name is clearly more neutral. As I said below, the way this article is written comes across as politically motivated. This is a part of a broader problem with political editing over the last three years or so in the American Politics subject area. -Thucydides411 (talk) 07:00, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support any move in principle as the presence of "conspiracy theory" violates WP:NPOV and is extraneous (a title can be constructed without it easily). Having "conspiracy theory" in titles always limits our available coverage of a topic, because it restricts us to the conspiracy rather than a full treatment. I would also prefer any title which doesn't use "Spygate"+disambiguator and would instead suggest FBI surveillance of Donald Trump campaign. -- Netoholic @ 07:44, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as suggested. Moving to Spygate (conspiracy theory) would be OK. It is important to clarify in the title what it is about. Otherwise, this might not be obvious for someone unfamiliar with the subject. Clarifying an undisputable majority view here is actually required by WP:NPOV. My very best wishes (talk) 16:33, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    That clarification can and should be done in the text of the article, not in a disambiguation phrase. There seem to be aspects of this story emerging that expand the scope beyond the conspiracy theory (Barr's recent testimony, for example), and this title artificially limits our ability to cover it. We must use a title which properly scopes this topic. -- Netoholic @ 21:12, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per Atsme. Sir Joseph (talk) 04:19, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • SUPPORT move - so long as the body continues to have mention of Trump and negative views, that would be a better title by WP:TITLE - more precise to a specific event (vs there are a number of Trump conspiracy theories... both ways), and as more neutral WP:NDESC. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 04:58, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per WP:PRECISE. Adding "by Donald Trump" is unnecessary disambiguation, and ÷"Spygate (conspiracy theory)" is precise enough to identify the same topic. ~Awilley (talk) 14:25, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose moved as suggested, although Spygate (conspiracy theory) would be fine. The key reason is that the sources clearly reflect that this is a conspiracy theory, and our title should reflect that. The closing administrator should entirely disregard the army of SPAs and "new" editors that have popped out of the woodwork to offer their policy-free votes. Neutralitytalk 16:39, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - With second choice being Spygate (conspiracy theory). The current title fails NPOV and is not structured in a way that is consistent with other pages. PackMecEng (talk) 18:09, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support for neutrality and conciseness. — JFG talk 18:33, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    • On conciseness, the title you support is even longer: (2016 United States presidential election) at 42 characters and 5 words, while the original (conspiracy theory by Donald Trump) is 35 characters and 5 words. starship.paint ~ KO 07:03, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I meant conciseness of subject matter, not word count. The current title uses two disambiguators: "conspiracy theory" and "by Donald Trump"; the proposed title uses only one: "2016 United States presidential election". — JFG talk 07:12, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - However, I'm fine with "Spygate conspiracy theory". That's more concise, and doesn't suggest that it's a scandal, like Watergate, the first of the -gates. O3000 (talk) 18:50, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
A matter that is resolved.
  • @Objective3000: You already voted above.[14] PackMecEng (talk) 18:58, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    Hah. Damn thing's so long I couldn't find my !vote. Thanks. O3000 (talk) 19:02, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    Yeah it is kind of a mess! PackMecEng (talk) 19:06, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    I almost did the same thing. "The vote is rigged!" soibangla (talk) 22:08, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose: the name proposed in the RfC is much worse than the original. However, I'm supportive of shorter names such as Spygate (political conspiracy theory) or Spygate (conspiracy theory). --K.e.coffman (talk) 01:25, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support – The newer, proposed title is more neutral than the current title, not to mention being a more accurate description of the subject it pertains to. LightandDark2000 🌀 (talk) 04:40, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose proposed title, support "Spygate (conspiracy theory) Per Muboshgu I oppose the proposal that we replace the parenthetical description with the title of the election, and per WP:CONCISE I'd be willing to just shorten it. Brendon the Wizard ✉️ 06:24, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose proposed title - would be fine with alternative suggestion dropping the 'by Donald Trump' so just Spygate (conspiracy theory), or a Spygate theory or Spygate conspiracy theory. WikiVirusC(talk) 15:09, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment - Ok, look folks, here is the problem. The present title is indeed somewhat POVish and clunky. But the proposed title, in a bit of WP:POINT skews completely the other way so it's also POV. The best thing to do would be to close this RfC and start another one with the proposed title simply Spygate (conspiracy theory) which a lot of the opposes might support. I don't see why we HAVE TO choose between two bad options. Restarting the RfC might also drop some of the meat and sock puppets that have popped up since they're attention span tends to be short.Volunteer Marek (talk) 15:25, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    (Conversation moved to Discussion) — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs)
"Conversation moved to Discussion" means conversation moved to Discussion.
The proposal is 100% neutral. The phrase "2016 United States presidential election" doesn't offer any opinion at all, so how are you calling it WP:POV? We don't jsut close down a RM because you don't like the way it is going.--Rusf10 (talk) 22:25, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
This is not what neutrality is. Under this definition, we would have to rename pages like 9/11 conspiracy theories so as to pander "neutrally" to the supporters of those theories. It's bunk. The sources say one thing. --Calthinus (talk) 22:36, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
I wholly agree with Marek and was thinking along the same lines. "Spygate (conspiracy theory)" solves PRECISE and NPOV and has been mentioned many times by opposers. Compromise is good. O3000 (talk) 22:35, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
I think this is a good compromise as well. Although, let's still allow the RfC to run its course, as there may be other good ideas or arguments that arise. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 22:48, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose OP proposal, but Support move to Spygate (conspiracy theory) as per Volunteer Marek and Objective3000. This is a fundamentally WP:POINT based RfC with an undercurrent of IDLI -- you present sources justifying this, or you don't, but what you don't do is call for "neutrality" when the RS do not give both sides anything close to equal weight. If you then want to complain about alleged media bias, start a blog, Wikipedia is not the place for you to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS. --Calthinus (talk) 22:36, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose OP proposal but suggest move to either Spygate conspiracy theory or Spygate (conspiracy theory). The inclusion of Trump does see bizarrely WP:POINTy, but referring to it as a conspiracy theory is solidly supported by reliable sources. SnowFire (talk) 00:26, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment. Recently there have been some editors suggesting that we move this article back to Spygate (conspiracy theory). This is not currently up for discussion and would run against a March 2019 consensus obtained after a move request. (See the talk page archives.) If there's critical mass to overturn that consensus, then it should be done in a dedicated discussion and participants in the prior discussions should be notified. R2 (bleep) 16:42, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Do you mean Talk:Spygate_(conspiracy_theory_by_Donald_Trump)/Archive 1#Requested move 20 February 2019 ? That RM had smaller attendance than this one and made a nitpicky, WP disambiguation rules centered decision that missed the forest for the trees - that including "by Donald Trump" is a terrible disambiguator that probably helped kick up all the naming fuss you see above. Per WP:NOT#BURO, there shouldn't be any problem with considering all options in this requested move. More seriously, even if the NFL confusion is considered an ironclad problem with just "conspiracy theory", then literally any other extra words would be better than what was picked, including just plain nothing and a hatnote to the NFL article, or "2016 conspiracy theory", or "Spygate conspiracy theory (politics)", or whatever. SnowFire (talk) 23:24, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Spygate (conspiracy theory) per WP:PRECISION. There is no need for disambiguation to go beyond what is necessary. feminist (talk) 11:05, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per much of the above, and all this obvious meatpuppetry. But mostly because the OP doesn't understand how WP:Disambiguation works. Spygate is not a "2016 United States presidential election", so that cannot be a disambiguation for it. Prefer the current title; there is nothing faulty about it, though "Spygate (Donald Trump conspiracy theory)" would be shorter and thus better comply with WP:CONCISE policy. Weakly okay with the short alternative proposal, "Spygate (conspiracy theory)"; weakly because removal of Trump's name from it is whitewashing, and it really is a Trump conspiracy theory, not someone else's. Not okay with longer alternatives, like "Spygate (political conspiracy theory)", per WP:CONCISE.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:15, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. It's a conspiracy theory. Maybe delete the "Donald Trump" bit, but it's a conspiracy theory. --Calton | Talk 07:39, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - this is a conspiracy theory, per the article's text, noting that the RfC has yet to change it. There is no need to make the title neutral, as this is exactly what it is. I'm not going to comment on mid thread alt suggestions as that is pointless. If there is a better option, wait for this RM to finish and present the case for it in a more readable way. --Gonnym (talk) 07:56, 23 April 2019 (UTC)


ALERT - possible meatpuppetry for this page and thus maybe this page move also [15] There is a big argument between Wikipedia editors on "Spygate" here. Clearly some of them suffer from TDS. [16] - less than a day ago, 5000+ upvotes, 280+ comments. starship.paint ~ KO 08:53, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

ALERT - possible meatpuppetry for this page and thus maybe this page move also [17] "Any further editor input on Talk:Spygate (Donald Trump conspiracy theory) would be appreciated. It seems that as a result of the Barr letter, many on the Right are trying to reopen the debate about the validity of counterintelligence on the Trump campaign or whatever they claim was going on. I have a busy day today IRL." — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 19:46, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

WP:POINT by one of the SPA accounts.Volunteer Marek (talk) 04:57, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
WP:NOTPOINTy. I have no problem with this policy and I am not trying to discredit it. I believe equal evidence should be equally applied. What I have done here in no way resembles the examples given in WP:POINT and is not intended to be disruption, but rather the introduction of what I believe to be genuinely useful and relevant information in a format consistent to that of the information which has already been introduced. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 21:04, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Actually, although its wording of that notice isn't ideal, WP:APPNOTE allows notifications on related Wikipedia articles without violating WP:CANVASS (on the premise that a related article is by default going to have a "representative" or otherwise typical group of editors rather than ones biased towards one point of view, so posting it there isn't likely to unbalance a debate.) A key part of WP:MEAT and WP:CANVASS is that you're trying to attract editors to present one particular point of view; notifications on a neutral, high-traffic venue are therefore allowed. --Aquillion (talk) 01:09, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
My issue was with the wording, yes. "A key part of WP:MEAT and WP:CANVASS is that you're trying to attract editors to present one particular point of view; notifications on a neutral, high-traffic venue are therefore allowed." The RfC I cited was a legitimate call for editor involvement, but was not neutrally worded. The Reddit thread in question was not neutrally worded, but never called for editor involvement. A case could be made for each to have attracted an imbalanced or misrepresentative sample of editors. I do not think either has necessarily caused much damage, but I think if one is to be noteworthy, then they both are. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 01:55, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

"Scandal" (Discussion moved from Survey) — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs)

It seems that other articles that cover this sort of topic usually refer to a "controversy" or a "scandal". See, e.g., IRS targeting controversy or ATF gunwalking scandal or Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy or White House travel office controversy. So how about something like: "FBI Surveillance controversy (2016 election)"?Shinealittlelight (talk) 16:03, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Shinealittlelight, those things you mentioned aren't "conspiracy theories". See John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories and other articles in {{Conspiracy theories}} that do include the phrase in the title. – Muboshgu (talk) 16:11, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Muboshgu, consider this piece: [18]. It calls several of the cited controversies "conspiracy theories". Shinealittlelight (talk) 16:20, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Shinealittlelight, I don't subscribe to WaPo, so I can't read the article. Can you provide quotes, or more context? – Muboshgu (talk) 20:18, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Shinealittlelight, I read the article and, sorry, but I have no idea what you are talking about. O3000 (talk) 22:32, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
@Objective3000 and Muboshgu:, here's the relevant quote from the piece I linked: The other images on that illustration and the text are broadly prominent conservative conspiracy theories that were popular during the Obama administration. There’s a reference to “Fast & Furious,” an effort to track illegal gun sales early in Obama’s first term that was the subject of a sweeping conspiracy theory. There’s an image of former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner (between Al Sharpton and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)), the centerpiece of an effort at the IRS to scrutinize groups that claimed tax exemptions while engaging in political work. (Many tea party groups were singled out for scrutiny, prompting another conspiracy theory.) Shinealittlelight (talk) 22:52, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Well, I still don’t understand your point as they were, indeed, conspiracy theories. In any case, this is other stuff. O3000 (talk) 00:05, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
O3K, I don't know how much clearer I can be. The Wikipedia articles I linked on these other scandals call them "scandals" in the titles, and do not call them conspiracy theories in the titles. And yet here is what we are in this context counting as an RS--an "analysis" piece by Bump in WaPo--that calls these scandals "conspiracy theories". So consistency requires that we either change those articles to title them "Conspiracy Theories" or we change this article to call it a scandal. My own preference would be to call everything a scandal. But something has to give. Shinealittlelight (talk) 00:12, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Argue what you wish on other articles. But, A→B is not the same as B→A. O3000 (talk) 00:32, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Wut. I'm looking to similar articles, which are not currently so politically hot, to see if there is any insight into how to handle the present case based on what consensus has been reached elsewhere. I see that there is in fact some insight to be had. Articles like this one are usually called "scandals" in their titles. I'm suggesting on this basis that perhaps this is how the present article should be titled as well. Muboshgu's reply was that those other articles are not on anything that RSs describe as conspiracy theories. I provided an article that is being counted as an RS in the present context, and that does call the subjects of those other articles conspiracy theories. So Muboshgu's reply, which was intelligible and on point, is in fact mistaken. Then you showed up, and I frankly can't understand anything you're saying, and for some reason you seem also to be unable to understand anything I'm saying. As a result, it seems that our dialogue is not productive, so I propose that we stop. Shinealittlelight (talk) 00:49, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
There is zero evidence that this is a scandal. Please keep in mind BLP. O3000 (talk) 00:54, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Like I said, the other articles like this are titled "scandal" even when some RSs call them Conspiracy Theories. That's the point. And, although this was not my original point, the NYT calls spygate a scandal here [19]. Shinealittlelight (talk) 01:06, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Please strike this. It is clear that the NYT was quoting Trump when using that word. O3000 (talk) 01:12, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't find that clear; they said Trump "gave the scandal a name: SPYGATE". That seems to be using 'scandal' in NYT's voice. Also, it is called a scandal in the Axios source cited elsewhere on this page. No doubt also in other RSs, since 'scandal' is a pretty neutral word. Shinealittlelight (talk) 01:30, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
The NYT article used the term scandal four times, three times in direct Trump quotes. They missed using the scare quotes once directly after a Trump quote using the word. Claiming that the NYT called this a scandal is beyond the pale. There is simply no way that the NYT was calling this a scandal in their own voice. Again, I suggest you redact a claim that is behind a paywall. O3000 (talk) 01:38, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Would either of you mind if we move this thread down to the discussion to keep it going? Shinealittlelight you bring up a good point but I get the sense we are talking past each other here. It seems O3000 is saying along the lines that the other "conspiracy theories" (Fast & Furious, etc) did not become scandals until after they were proven correct, before which they were unproven conspiracy theories. If anything this weakens the claim that conspiracy theories are always false, but we may have to wait until Barr's investigation concludes to use the word "scandal", at least in the title. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 02:22, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

For all the people who support (conspiracy theory) - @BrendonTheWizard, WikiVirusC, SK8RBOI, and Objective3000: - actually that was a previous name of the article. However, are you aware that the page was moved due to a request - Talk:Spygate (conspiracy theory by Donald Trump)/Archive 1#Requested move 20 February 2019 - due to editors arguing that Spygate (NFL) also had conspiracy theories and thus there would be ambiguity. As such, I would ask that you consider bradv's suggestion of (political conspiracy theory). Please CTRL-F for bradv on the page to find it. starship.paint ~ KO 01:16, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

"(political conspiracy theory)" is better for the reason you've provided. I'd accept either to close this. O3000 (talk) 01:25, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
"Spygate (political conspiracy theory)" is unwieldy to my eye. I prefer it to the current title, but not the proposed title, "Spygate (2016 U.S. Presidential election)", which would satisfy the same concern about ambiguity. I think a better compromise is to reinstate "Spygate (conspiracy theory)" and include a disambiguation link to the NFL scandal, which would be a consistent and elegant solution. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 01:55, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
I wasn't aware of it til now, but that discussion had very small participation, and I wouldn't have agreed with that move location if I had participated in it. The NFL Spygate wasn't a conspiracy theory it was an actual incident that occurred, so I don't believe it can be confused with this one. Despite the sources that were posted in that discussion which all refer to a conspiracy theory about destroyed tapes from the Spygate incident. The incident itself wasn't a conspiracy theory, nor is that article about one. Either way, a lot of options are available for the name, such as the ones I suggested, but the one suggested in this request, which doesn't label it as a conspiracy theory, I don't think is viable so long as it is just a conspiracy which I believe it will remain. WikiVirusC(talk) 13:02, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
edit: As also suggested, a dab between the two articles would also help. WikiVirusC(talk) 13:03, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Reference citations in this discussion[edit]


Trump, Apr 11, 2019: "There was absolutely spying into my campaign"[edit]

“There was absolutely spying into my campaign,” Trump said Thursday in the Oval Office. “I’ll go a step further and say it was illegal spying. Unprecedented spying.”Phmoreno (talk) 14:45, 12 April 2019 (UTC)[1]``

Oh, well, if Trump said it that makes it true.[2] – Muboshgu (talk) 14:47, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
And the idea that it was illegal is, as the sources note, false — all of the appropriate steps to engage in a legal counterintelligence investigation into contacts with known agents of a hostile foreign power appear to have been followed, including gaining appropriate warrants from the relevant courts. So you've further reinforced that this is a Trump-generated conspiracy theory. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 14:49, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • If Donald Trump were a newspaper he would utterly fail our WP:RS policy. In my opinion, he absolutely does not have “a reputation for fact checking or accuracy”. He even boasted about using “truthful hyperbole”. starship.paint ~ KO 14:53, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
starship, you're gonna love this one from the esteemed MPants:
"The president is possibly the single most unreliable source for any claim of fact ever to grace the pages of WP." -- MPants 04:57, 2 October 2018 (UTC)
That sums it up pretty well, and would easily get the backing of all professional fact checkers. -- BullRangifer (talk) 06:56, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Good question. Fact checkers don't seem to have paid as much attention to him, likely because he's so off-the-wall crazy (he says he has psychosis). Trump's falsehoods have been fact-checked very thoroughly, and in the same way as other politicians and presidents. He's simply off-the-charts bad. They have never encountered a more deceptive public person and have even created at least one new category of lies just because of him. -- BullRangifer (talk) 07:14, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
  • More about that new category here and here: "Meet the Bottomless Pinocchio, a new rating for a false claim repeated over and over again". This is uniquely Trumpian. Normal people, and even "normal" big liars, don't repeat a debunked lie again and again, unless they are using the Big Lie propaganda technique: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." (Joseph Goebbels) Trump has often been accused of using this Big Lie technique (or would he say "biglier"? Face-wink.svg), and his followers do indeed fall for the trick, unlike those who only use RS, hence the huge split in American politics and between editors here.
Here's a good article about his use of the Big Lie technique: When the Big Lie Meets Big Data. Many other RS connect Trump with use of the Big Lie technique, and now fact-checkers have created the Bottomless Pinocchio category for him. Nobody repeats thoroughly debunked lies the way he does. It's not normal, even for big liars, and his broadening and repetition of Spygate is just part of it. It started out as false, and gets more false with each repetition. Those who exist in a filter bubble fed by unreliable sources aren't even aware of what's happening to them. They seem surprised and get angry when confronted with what most Americans and editors here see as plainly common knowledge because they don't exist in that bubble.
While this is relevant to this article, this conversation is starting to get more relevant for the Veracity of statements by Donald Trump article, so have a good day. -- BullRangifer (talk) 16:01, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
  • BullRangifer - no doubt, Trump is the least reliable prominent politician, certainly the person fact-checkers would agree as the most unreliable (because they check him). But to be the most unreliable person ever, that's beyond fact checkers. Alex Jones is definitely a public person as well. starship.paint ~ KO 08:20, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I didn't write "unreliable" public person, but "deceptive public person", of course referring to those who are notable enough to get fact-checked. The two men generally traffic in different types of falsehoods, but, like Alex, Trump has created and also pushed a number of conspiracy theories, some of them theories commonly accepted in right-wing circles, but he really went far astray in his June 5, 2018 tweet based on a theory from The Gateway Pundit, an extremely unreliable source. (I'm not sure if InfoWars is worse than the Gateway Pundit, but they are both extremely unreliable, and possibly blacklisted here.) That is described here:
"Trump, Fox News, and Twitter have created a dangerous conspiracy theory loop. The president tweeted literal “fake news” about the so-called “Spygate” controversy. The story behind the tweet is revealing — and scary." "Late on Tuesday, President Trump tweeted something that’s embarrassing even by his standards: an unfounded conspiracy theory that originated in some of the internet’s worst “fake news” corners."
This time Trump went even further down the rabbit hole in his attempts to convince his followers that he was the victim of illegal "spying". That's why we have this article. It's all a deceptive attempt to label legal, appropriate, and necessary national security investigations as "spying" and wrong. -- BullRangifer (talk) 15:17, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes, Trump and his sycophants still push that falsehood, and editors who do it should be topic banned. Nothing new there. We can include the fact that he still pushes the false claim, just as we update our documentation of his denials that there was Russian interference in the election, and especially that it was to help him. He will no doubt try to muddy the waters and try to classify the Russia investigation as spying on his campaign. That is not Spygate. That was a legitimate counterintelligence investigation of foreign interference in our election, which Trump welcomed. We have an article about that, and it's not this one. Don't conflate the two. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 14:58, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

"Whether proper or improper, the issue of surveillance of the Trump campaign has been widely documented."[1]``Phmoreno (talk) 16:34, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

  • "Countersurveillance" =/= "Spying". Comey's right on that. This is a key distinction a lot of people don't seem to be understanding. – Muboshgu (talk) 17:03, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Phmoreno, are you serious? You just provided a source which contradicts your belief. Read what Comey actually says. He makes the point that there is a difference. They are not the same. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 17:37, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No one is denying that there was surveillance of members of the Trump campaign. In fact, the whole Russian election interference campaign was started as a RICO investigation. Those suspected of crimes and treasonous behavior should be surveilled, and it was not political. It was a matter of national security. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 17:39, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
We won't know for certain if it was politically motivated or not until after the Inspector General & Barr release their findings. Atsme Talk 📧 17:43, 12 April 2019 (UTC)


If there was ever a time when WP:RECENTISM and WP:NOTNEWS apply, it is now. Comments by Barr are being taken as the final arbiter of truth, even though they were uncertain, off-hand, without evidence, spoken to please his boss, and he's pulled back on what he said. Sheesh!

Give the guy a chance to perform the investigation he said he'd perform. Then we might have something that will change what's in the article, but since Congress has already performed such investigations and the Republicans admitted they found nothing, there isn't much chance he'll have any success. He's just riled up Trump's base, the ones who believe this and other conspiracy theories, and who now come here to misuse Wikipedia to push their political agenda. We need to see some of these WP:NOTHERE accounts blocked and/or topic banned.

We do not base content on such off-hand remarks. Nothing Barr has said disproves the fact that Trump pushed a conspiracy theory without evidence. RS labeled his claims as false, and we base our content on those RS. He said a spy was planted in his campaign. There is no evidence that it ever happened. Halper did poke around the edges of the campaign by seeking information from three persons, but he was never part of the campaign.

Legitimate counterintelligence efforts directed at certain persons in the campaign suspected of crimes are off-topic here. Trump was not talking about them. Just because he throws around the term "spying" doesn't make it so. He likes to create confusion, and editors who allow him to do that to them should know better.

There are other articles about the various counterintelligence investigations. Manafort and Page had their own issues and whenever they secretly met with (and they lied about it) and communicated with Russian and Ukrainian assets under observation, their interactions with them were picked up by several foreign, and later American, intelligence agencies. That is not "spying on the Trump campaign", and it is not what Trump was talking about when he was referring to Halper.

Summary: "A spy", as in ONE person, planted "IN" the campaign, is what Spygate is about. It never happened. Do you have RS documenting other things considered spying on the campaign? Then start a new article about it. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 14:48, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

  • Absurd claim here. Specifically which part of WP:NOTNEWS does this fall under? You're trying to tell us that when the Attorney General of the United States makes a statement to congress about a serious allegation, something he clearly thinks should be investigated, we are just to ignore it? Just because you don't like or agree with what he said, doesn't mean it gets ignored. The man is the attorney general, his opinion actually deserves more weight in this article than that of opinion journalists who are routinely cited without second thought.--Rusf10 (talk) 15:00, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
The Attorney General of the United States is a subject matter expert on this very topic. What he said just made the title of this article ("conspiracy theory") false. The title of this article needs to be change or it makes Wikipedia look very biased and foolish. If the AG later comes out and says that it was, in fact, a conspiracy theory, then the title can be changed back. AppliedCharisma (talk) 15:01, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Bill Barr is a political appointee of Donald Trump, and we've already seen how Trump goes through cabinet officials like Kleenex if they slightly displease him. Barr's opinion, like that of all political officials of any stripe, must be taken with that consideration in mind. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 15:03, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Yet other political appointees words and opinions by Clapper, Comey, Lynch, Brennan, etc are taken as gospel. Got it. Barr's the Attorney General of the USA, what he says actually does have relevance. Mr Ernie (talk) 15:05, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • When did I say that Clapper and Comey's opinion should be taken as gospel? I said no such thing. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 15:10, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • When Mueller's report is released, and it states that clandestine surveillance (another way of saying "spying") was conducted on the Trump campaign, will you still say that it's a "conspiracy theory" because Mueller was a political appointee? AppliedCharisma (talk) 15:07, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • That report is going to make a LOT of editors (and reporters) look very foolish, on one side or the other... I can't wait. Mr Ernie (talk) 15:08, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Again, the conspiracy theory is not that there was "spying" on the Trump campaign. There was clearly surveillance of people associated with the campaign, because those people had known contacts with agents of hostile foreign powers. That surveillance was, per the sources, entirely legitimate and legal under the law - there is a damned good reason we have laws like FISA and that is that there are people out there who want harm to come to our nation. The conspiracy theory is that this surveillance was illegal or done for political purposes to aid the Clinton campaign. Sources are essentially unanimous in declaring that false. So we follow the sources. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 15:10, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • You just confirmed that the title of this article is false. So, there WAS spying on the campaign, what's controversial is whether it was legal and/or ethical. That's not a "conspiracy theory." That's a legal controversy. AppliedCharisma (talk) 15:13, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Again, there is no "controversy" in mainstream reliable sources about whether it was legal. Donald Trump declaring something does not make it so. That you may personally disagree with these sources or think they are "biased" is not relevant here. Wikipedia views mainstream news organizations such as The Washington Post and The New York Times as gold-standard reliable sources. To change that consensus, you'd need to head over to WP:RSN and open a thread. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 15:14, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
It's not just President Trump who is saying so. Barr and a number of Republican officials have also said so, as well as some media pundits (mainly on Fox). So, the title of the article is wrong on that point also. The title would need to mention every single name who agrees with the President. As it stands, it's a BLP violation. AppliedCharisma (talk) 15:18, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
That's not how Wikipedia works, and no, it's not a BLP violation to call something false that reliable sources call false. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 15:19, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
BullRangifer, we probably should find a way to add into this article that Barr and Trump have resurrected this conspiracy theory, after things have calmed down. I'm not sure what wording we should use though, and certainly we need to let the test of time tell us. – Muboshgu (talk) 15:23, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
As Bill Kristol said today, it’ll probably last 24-48 hours, and it’s already fading. If it does have legs, we can add something after the dust settles. O3000 (talk) 15:28, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Objective3000, I can't imagine the AG undermining the FBI, or accurately calling out an improper investigation, won't have legs, but I agree we should wait and see. – Muboshgu (talk) 15:34, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Agreed. If this gets legs, then we add it. We have done the same on the Trump–Russia dossier article and article about the Russia investigation. We document that Trump continues to lie about these things. He still denies that the Russians interfered in the election to help him. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 15:43, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Mr Ernie and AppliedCharisma, stay on-topic. This article is about a specific claim made by Trump. He claimed that "a spy", as in ONE person, was planted "IN" the campaign. That's what Spygate is about. It never happened. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 15:49, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

LOL, you regulars are moving the goalposts. If President Trump says that a spy was planted in his campaign, placement of a wiretap counts as a spy. Apparently, there was a wiretap, which is why the Trump staff moved their transition headquarters from the Trump Tower to his resort after the NSA director told them about it (and was subsequently fired by Obama for doing so). By the way, is stalking a normal behavior for Wikipedia editors? AppliedCharisma (talk) 15:56, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Hi AppliedCharisma, some of what you are saying makes sense. A couple disagreements, however. The phrase "spy planted in his campaign" does imply human intelligence gathering rather than digital surveillance. People could argue whether "in the campaign" implies a paid member of the campaign or officially affiliated volunteer. I find it a red herring, though, as the bigger question is whether they spied on the campaign, which without solid predicate is scandal enough for any reasonable person. Finally, you are mistaken that NSA Director Mike Rogers was fired for meeting with Trump. Immediately after his meeting, top intelligence officials including Clapper tried to get Rogers fired, however President Obama declined to do so. Wookian (talk) 16:29, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

When the facts change the article should reflect the new facts. Facts do not support calling spying a "conspiracy theory". That Trump was a Russian agent or that his campaign colluded with Russia was a conspiracy theory. Barr is just confirming the suspicious circumstances of they spying. The accusations have been there for two years and the evidence is that spying did in fact occur.Phmoreno (talk) 16:11, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Phmoreno, facts have not changed. Barr presented no facts. He said "I think" and then he walked it back. Barr didn't confirm anything about spying. – Muboshgu (talk) 17:04, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
He said "Yes, I think spying did occur"...and followed it with the question whether it was predicated. See AP article. Atsme Talk 📧 17:49, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
@Atsme:, and since he presented no facts, the facts have not changed. From the AP article you presented:

Barr provided no details about what “spying” may have taken place but appeared to be alluding to a surveillance warrant the FBI obtained on a former Trump associate. He later said during the hearing that he wasn’t sure there had been improper surveillance and wants to ensure all proper procedures were followed.

– Muboshgu (talk) 17:55, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

You are referring to the "details" of Barr's investigation, which comes after the fact he acknowledged the basis for it; i.e., that spying, surveillance or investigating (whichever you prefer to call it) did occur. We don't have all the facts about his investigation in order to make a determination as to whether or not the spying was "adequately predicated". Barr was quite clear he was not suggesting that the spying was not adequately predicated, but felt it was his obligation to explore it...and so we wait. I'm guessing there may be quite a few WP articles that would need updating contingent upon the findings of Barr and Horowitz, of course, but that's what happens when we don't closely adhere to WP:RECENTISM and WP:NOTNEWS. Atsme Talk 📧 19:24, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
The point is, he's not an independent source from the subject, so his opinions don't pass WP:RS or WP:V to use for statements of fact. We can report his opinions on the conspiracy theory somewhere in the article, but currently there's no reason to think they change anything - we would need independent sources treating them as facts before they would have any real weight outside of "here's an opinion presented by someone in the Trump administration, used to represent the position of the Trump administration on the topic." I agree that we have to be cautious about WP:RECENTISM and WP:NOTNEWS, but the basic outline of this conspiracy theory and the comments that led to it are well-established (and date back nearly a year at this point.) It's been thoroughly debunked by every source that examined it, and extensively examined as a conspiracy theory by virtually all mainstream sources, so for now we obviously have to stick with that rather than radically swerving based on the opinions of one administration official. --Aquillion (talk) 19:55, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure I agree with the AP that Barr was talking about the Page wiretap, but rather Halper talking to Page, especially before July 31, and to Clovis, perhaps without prior approval: Mr. Halper reached out to Sam Clovis, a Trump campaign aide; it was not clear whether Mr. Halper had the F.B.I.’s blessing to contact Mr. Clovis. He indicated that at issue was not the act of surveilling but whether officials followed proper procedures when they decided to gather intelligence on Trump’s associates in 2016 soibangla (talk) 18:09, 12 April 2019 (UTC)


A couple of inspirational quotes.

Whoever wrote this pathetic article (I'm talking about prose-quality, solely) might wish to read WP:QUOTEFARM. Someone please paraphrase the comments and bind them in a coherent fashion. WBGconverse 17:38, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

WBG - I share your pain. Atsme Talk 📧 20:14, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps, on an already quite heated and messy talk page, it is not good practice to be unnecessarily inflammatory with a drive-by "pathetic article," noting a problem as well as possible solution without making an effort at fixing it. If people revert your efforts, then you are entitled to gripe about it here. :) — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:09, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I probably wrote the majority of the article, I'm sorry but that was my best effort. If you feel you can improve the situation, please try. starship.paint ~ KO 23:27, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Good luck, I don't want to touch this with a ten foot pool, I'd prefer to keep my sanity. Hell in a Bucket (talk) 23:28, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Sorry, right or wrong, this is not good timing. The TP is currently under massive attack by off-wiki canvassing and an off-the-cuff comment made by a high-ranking official, later backed off, with reports on innumerable sites that somehow missed the later explanations. When the dust settles, we will have to begin sweeping it up. O3000 (talk) 00:12, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
They aren't RS. We have seen many comments saying Barr said spying happened missing any of his further clarifications. And, the off-site canvassing is at ANI. I'm not trying to start an argument here. I just think the dust should settle before anyone looks to a rewrite, assuming it's needed. I don't have an opinion on the latter. O3000 (talk) 00:28, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I was looking for the quotes. Found them. Just wanted to leave them on record. "I'm not suggesting that those rules were violated, but I think it's important to look at that. And I'm not just talking about the FBI necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly ... I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I'm saying that I am concerned about it and looking into it, that's all ... I just want to satisfy myself that there were no abuse of law enforcement or intelligence powers. ... I'm not saying improper surveillance occurred, I am looking into it”. starship.paint ~ KO 00:42, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Conspiracy theory[edit]

Why don't you guys rename the article to Spygate (Conspiracy theory by the President of the United States of America)? (talk) 06:11, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Why would we? R2 (bleep) 07:01, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

False vs. Unsupported[edit]

The article again says in the first line that Spygate is a false theory. In support, three sources are given. None of those sources say that the theory is false. Rather, they all say that it is not supported by evidence. Except for one place: the Vox headline says that the theory is false. Other than that, all we have is that one of the pieces (the WaPo piece, which is an "analysis" piece--that's what you call an opinion piece when you don't want to admit that it is an opinion piece, I guess) compares Spygate to other examples in which Trump has made false claims. But even that piece never directly says that spygate is false, but says that it is unsupported. So, again, in the body of these three articles, the theory is never said to be false. Why then do we insist on saying it's false when this isn't supported by the available sources? Do you guys want me to explain the difference between "false" and "not supported by evidence"? Surely you understand that difference, right? Shinealittlelight (talk) 16:00, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Why does your user page only consist of the character '!'? Also, why did you create a new section when there are already two sections about the same thing: #"false conspiracy theory" and #"False conspiracy theory" in lead? - MrX 🖋 20:12, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
Response to your off-topic question. Atsme Talk 📧 23:04, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
This is a page for discussion of improving the article, not my user page. The other sections were initiated to discuss whether the allegations are in fact false. This is an error; we don't need to decide that. We only need to decide whether the RSs support the claim that the "Spygate" theory is false. I have initiated a new section to reorient the discussion on that question. I've also argued that the sources do not support the claim that the theory is false. Shinealittlelight (talk) 20:35, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
The dominant attitude on the talk page seems to be against the addition of new sources, and in general against the alteration of the article lede or body in any way, so it appears to me the article is doomed to remain poorly sourced, grammatically unappealing, unencyclopedic, and factually inaccurate into perpetuity. Or at least until the news cycle shifts. Is there any other way to resolve this inconsistency? — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) —Preceding undated comment added 21:05, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
Assume good faith. There are a lot of new editors on this page, and they don't all seem to understand all the relevant wikipedia policies. This has caused a lot of unhelpful discussion. But I don't think anyone has addressed at this point the argument I've made that the sources for the claim that the "spygate" theory is false simply do not say that it is false. So let's see if anyone has a reply to that. Shinealittlelight (talk) 21:08, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
I admire your optimism! Yours is a good point to be sure, and should be taken seriously as it is a legitimate criticism of the encyclopedic quality of the article. Wikipedian principles are not being adhered to and this represents a problem, regardless of intention. But you have to wonder why this has not already been corrected. I recommend pinging Starship.paint as he seems to have had a substantial hand in the article's drafting. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) —Preceding undated comment added 21:32, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
"Assume good faith. There are a lot of new editors on this page, and they don't all seem to understand all the relevant wikipedia policies." - Funny, cuz some of these "new editors on this page", like the one right above this comment, appear to be quite versant in Wikipedia policy to the extentent that they see it fit to lecture others about it. Good faith isn't a suicide pact. We also have WP:DUCK.Volunteer Marek (talk) 05:00, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
WP:Ping me if you ever get a response to your question, Shinealittlelight. Atsme Talk 📧 23:00, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Atsme, SK8RBOI, and Shinealittlelight: - while yes, I wrote a lot of the article since the last time I checked, I don’t think I’m the editor who has been adding “false”, and I won’t be checking if I did, that’s too much work. Now, about your question on “false”... starship.paint ~ KO 00:03, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The Kessler source rates the “Spygate” allegation of May as Four Pinnochios. That, in his definition [20], refers to “whoppers”, which are gross untruths. This, the source is saying Spygate is false. starship.paint ~ KO 00:03, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The Bump source says “We’ve seen this dance before... conspiracy theory ... false claim ... time and again ... now it’s Spygate”. To me, Bump is saying, this is the same as before, and in the situation of “before”, he made false claims. Therefore the logical conclusion is that this is also a false claim. We can’t have “seen this dance before” unless what is currently being seen is also “this dance”. That makes Spygate false. starship.paint ~ KO 00:03, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The Vox source has “false” in the title. Is that reliable? I’m not sure, perhaps someone with more expertise could comment. Although, Vox is treated as a reliable source. However, there seem to be many other small phrases pointing to false. The subtitle: Stefan Halper, a professor and FBI informant, didn’t “spy” on Trump. A header: “The phony case that Halper was “spying” on Trump” elsewhere in the text: If you look at Trump’s rhetoric on the Halper case, you notice a few repeated assertions that aren’t borne out by the facts we currently have ... Trump’s misconceptions ... Trump is pushing a narrative on this meeting largely spun out of one right-wing commentator’s theory, one that bears very little relation to observable reality ... Trump is wrong about the Halper situation ... a ginned-up controversy Overall, I see Vox as saying Trump is wrong about the facts. That makes his allegations false. starship.paint ~ KO 00:03, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Personally, it seems that these sources are saying Trump’s allegations are false starship.paint ~ KO 00:12, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • When someone makes conspiratorial allegations of enormous consequence without evidence, particularly when it requires involvement from large numbers of people, it's a conspiracy theory. Has any conspiracy theory ever proved correct in history? Likely so. But that's rare. This particular conspiracy theory has innumerable adherents trying to find proof -- in vain. We must be honest here. If someone (particularly with a history of making stuff up) states something that is conspiratorial sans any evidence, and RS debunk these claims, let us be honest. Now, mayhaps we should use the word debunked instead of false. That adjective is not a "truth" word. But, we do need an adjective in the lead such that we are not a part of conspiracy peddling. O3000 (talk) 00:23, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Thanks for the reply, @Starship.paint:. I reply to each point.
      • The Kessler piece is currently not cited in support of the claim of falsity in the first sentence of the article.
      • Kessler says that "four pinocchios" means "whopper" and you're interpreting this to mean "false". I must say, this is from my perspective a bit tenuous. I have very little confidence that Kessler never applies "four pinocchios" to an extremely reckless claim that is totally unfounded but nevertheless not known to be false.
      • The Bump source compares Spygate to other claims that Bump says are false. He does not directly say that Spygate is false. I have little confidence about whether Bump means that Spygate is currently known to be false or whether he's just saying that, as in the past, it likely will turn out to be false. Bump just doesn't say.
      • My understanding is that titles (and subtitles) are not RS. They surely shouldn't be--they aren't written by the author typically, and they are written to grab attention, and are sometimes overly compressed. I'm open to further discussion here. I can't find the matter directly addressed in wikipedia policy.
      • At any rate, Vox is the most partisan source we're using, and it seems to me undue to place their partisan perspective in the first sentence without an in-line citation. They can't be the primary source here.
      • The Vox piece says: "Not borne out by the facts we currently have." This is exactly what I'm talking about: this is saying "unproven" not "false".
      • This remark means that "misconceptions"--which is a tricky word--probably means "conceptions that are at odds with correct standards of evidence" and not "conceptions that are known to be false".
      • And again, "...theory...that bears very little relation to obervable reality" is best interpreted, in light of the other statement, as saying that we don't have evidence for the theory.
      • You've provided an out of context and misleading quote with "Trump is wrong about the Halper situation". The full quote is "In some ways, though, it doesn’t matter if Trump is wrong about the Halper situation." Obviously this doesn't support your interpretation.
      • "Ginned up" may mean "made up" rather than "false".
      • As for O3K's remark, I don't think you're responding to my point, which is that the RSs do not say that the theory is false, but only that it is unfounded. They also do not say "debunked". What they say is that he hasn't got sufficient evidence for the theory.Shinealittlelight (talk) 00:40, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Shinealittlelight - I concede the point about the "if Trump is wrong about the Halper situation". I'm sorry about my mistake. I also concede the "gin up" point. I stand by the rest of my comments. The Kessler piece was present when I was writing my reply. Anyway, the word "false" is gone from the first sentence, it's now at the end of the lede, not by my doing. starship.paint ~ KO 03:48, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
@Starship.paint: No prob about the mistake; all this is very challenging, and I didn't think you did it in bad faith. Too bad you're not going to say why you're unpersuaded by each of the arguments I gave, but I understand that we're all busy people. I wanted to make a few other points about the Kessler piece:
  • The Kessler piece oddly enough defines 'spygate' differently than we do in this article. Here's the passage in which Kessler defines 'spygate': President Trump, in a continuing effort to discredit the criminal investigation into his campaign’s possible links with Russia entities, has now seized on “spygate.” This refers to the news that the FBI obtained information from an informant — Stefan Halper, an emeritus professor at the University of Cambridge — who met with at least three members of Trump’s campaign staff suspected of having links to Russia.
  • Awkwardly, he actually seems to think that spygate in his sense is in fact not a conspiricy theory but true! For in his sense the term only refers to the claim that Halper met with some folks in the Trump campaign, and that's known to be the case.
  • In any case, Kessler doesn't apply four Pinocchios to spygate in either his sense of the word or to spygate in the sense in which we're using the word in the wikipedia article. Rather, the quote in this piece where he mentions four pinocchios is this: While Trump claims “large dollars” were paid to Halper, it’s unclear what he received for his help on the counterintelligence probe. Halper was paid a little over $1 million for separate work for the Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment between 2012 and 2017 — and about 40 percent of the money was paid before Trump entered the presidential race. But no dollar figures for his assistance in the Russia probe have been reported. This latest claim, clearly worthy of Four Pinocchios... In other words, he is saying that the claim that Halper was paid large dollars is "worthy of four pinocchios" because it is (not known to be false but) unsupported!
  • So takeaway: this Kessler piece does not support the claim that spygate (in the sense of the wikipedia article) is false, and it also vindicates my earlier points about the loose way in which he applies 'four pinocchios' to theories that he regards as both reckless and totally baseless, but that are not known to be false. That leaves us with the Vox piece and the Bump piece, neither of which call the theory false, as I've explained. Shinealittlelight (talk) 12:04, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I didn't reply to all of your points because I mostly disagree with those interpretations, and I already explained my stance above, so I would just be repeating myself, or I have no comment. I'd reply to your recent Kessler critique later. starship.paint ~ KO 14:03, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't think it is desirable, or even possible, to seriously debate what a professional journalist means by "whoppers", when there is a clear and obvious definition for the word. When we further see that the 'pinnocchio' scale (again an obvious reference to falsehoods) specifies "three pinnocchio" as the realm of "mostly false.", I can't imagine how there could be any doubt where this takes "four pinnocchios", except further into the same realm. --Escape Orbit (Talk) 16:18, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Your argument appears to be with Kessler, not me. He says that the claim that Halper was paid large dollars for his assistance is a four-pinocchio claim even though "no dollar figures for his assistance ... have been reported." Shinealittlelight (talk) 17:17, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Not really. Wikipedia doesn't care if I, or you, take issue with Kessler. It only cares that we reflect accurately what he says. And he says "four pinnocchios" which is a "whopper" of a falsehood. His thinking in reaching that conclusion is not for me, or you, to dissect. --Escape Orbit (Talk) 20:26, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
I'm not dissecting. He clearly says that the claim that Halper was paid a lot of money is worthy of four pinocchios because "no dollar figures ... have been reported". He clearly does not say that spygate is worthy of four pinnochios. To report what he says, we do have to read it. Shinealittlelight (talk) 23:10, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
By the way, another point relevant to the Bump source. In another piece here, [21], Bump says that the IRS targeting controversy and the ATF gunwalking scandal were conspiracy theories. Should we use this piece to change those titles to "IRS targeting conspiracy theory" and so on? Or can we instead recognize that Bump's "analysis" pieces are really opinion pieces? Shinealittlelight (talk) 17:22, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Excellent breakdown Shinealittlelight, thanks for doing the dirty work. I would just like to point out that a lot of the arguments made in defense of including the word "false" in the introductory paragraph were rebuffed when made in defense of including Barr's testimony to congress within the article body. If the source does not say "Spygate", even when the subject matter seems to be the same topic, then, I'm told, it cannot be included in the Spygate article; if the source does not say "Spygate is false", even when the implication seems to be a debunking of Spygate, then the descriptor "false" should not be used. A more consistent way to include the same information while still excluding the AG's testimony would be to note that claims central to the Spygate conspiracy theory were rated as "Four Pinnochios" by Kessler. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 19:39, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Except that the claim to which Kessler gives "four pinnochios" is not central to the Spygate theory as we are using 'Spygate'. He gave four pinocchios to the claim about Halper recieving lots of money. That's no part of spygate as we understand it in the article (namely, the theory that the Obama administration placed a spy in the Trump campaign).Shinealittlelight (talk) 20:26, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Hm! Good point, can't argue with that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 21:54, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Shinealittlelight - sorry, I said I would reply to you further on the Kessler piece, here is my reply: I think Kessler's award of Four Pinocchios is wider than you describe it to be, than just the money paid. In my view, the Four Pinocchios is for Trump's entire May 24, 2018 tweet at the top of the article - this includes a debunking of Trump's first sentence Clapper has now admitted that there was Spying in my campaign. starship.paint ~ KO 10:05, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

That's just not what it says. He applies four pinocchios to what he calls "this latest claim". The tweet of May 24 was not what he was referring to; he was referring to the latest claim Trump had made--mentioned just before that--to the effect that Halper had received a large payment. Your reading is just not reasonable, I'm sorry. Shinealittlelight (talk) 12:58, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Shinealittlelight - half o the article, [22], before the background info Here is a guide to the various "scandals" about the probe that Trump has promoted since he became president..., is a refutation of Trump's May 24 tweet, which includes the payment portion. The last sentence of the refutation part, Democratic leaders, after a closed-door briefing from the FBI on the informant, said they were shown no evidence that supported Trump's claim of spying. is a further clue that Kessler wasn't only intensely focused on the payment portion of the claim as you are representing. It doesn't say no evidence that supported Trump's claim of payment of a spy/informant. starship.paint ~ KO 14:13, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
starship.paint, I agree that he talks about a lot of other stuff in the article, and he generally has a negative assessment of Trump's basis fo his claims. But his specific application of "four pinocchios" is unambiguously to the "latest claim" that Trump made about a big payment. You can try to make a different argument that, aside from his application of "four pinocchios," he saysa that Spygate is false. But I'm addressing his application of "four pinocchios". If you want to go on to make this other argument, it would serve clarity for you to first concede that his application of "four pinocchios" is not to Spygate but to a more specific claim about payment. Or, if you think that he is applying "four pinocchios" to spygate, you need to explain how, when he says "latest claim," he could possibly in this context be referring to Spygate. Shinealittlelight (talk) 15:09, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Shinealittlelight: my analysis of the source is that the “latest claim” is the entire May 24 tweet. I think that the Clapper sentence, as part of the tweet, is also part of the “latest claim”. Since you think it only refers to a portion of the tweet on payment, I think we have to agree to disagree on this matter. starship.paint ~ KO 15:46, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Actually, the matter of payment was an important part of Trump's Spygate allegation:

"If the person placed very early into my campaign wasn't a SPY put there by the previous Administration for political purposes, how come such a seemingly massive amount of money was paid for services rendered - many times higher than normal ... Follow the money! The spy was there early in the campaign and yet never reported Collusion with Russia, because there was no Collusion. He was only there to spy for political reasons and to help Crooked Hillary win - just like they did to Bernie Sanders, who got duped!" Donald Trump, Twitter, May 22, 2018

BullRangifer (talk) 15:42, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Sure, Trump said that. But the article currently defines "spygate" as the theory that "the Obama administration planted a paid spy inside [Trump's] 2016 presidential campaign in an effort to help Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton, win the general election." So if this is how we're understanding 'spygate', then Trump's additional claim about payment is just that--additional to the claim that we're calling spygate, not a part of it. Shinealittlelight (talk) 15:52, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Then we need to fix that definition, because Spygate is based on Trump's claims, which include the payment element. We can't define Spygate on just part of Trump's claims at the time. -- BullRangifer (talk) 21:17, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
I tried to improve it. -- BullRangifer (talk) 21:36, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
No RS uses 'spygate' with the specificity you're now suggesting, and which you've implemented without consensus. I can now see that there's a huge problem with the definition of 'spygate'. It is defined in a number of non-equivalent ways in the RSs, and Wikipedia now defines it differently than all of them. I'm going to elaborate when I get a chance, probably tomorrow. But my basic suggestion is that we need to have a subsection devoted to spelling out the varying uses of 'spygate', and the article itself needs to be on a more general topic--something like "Allegations of illegal surveillance on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign"--since there is no such single topic as 'spygate'.Shinealittlelight (talk) 13:05, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I only looked at the first source cited, and it already does support the claim. [23]. Trump and Republicans say that Halper was a spy planted in the Trump campaign by the Obama administration “for political purposes” — in other words, to hurt Trump’s electoral chances. The president has dubbed this “SPYGATE,” ... Trump has even expanded on the theory in his tweets, arguing Monday night that Halper was a paid operative working for Clinton. ... There is no evidence that Halper was paid some extravagant fee for his work as an informant, and it’s not clear what Trump is referring to. starship.paint ~ KO 14:18, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The quote provided does not say that Halper was paid a massive amount of money, which is part of how you've now idiosyncratically defined "spygate" in the article. That edit is totally out of step with RS as far as I can tell, and there is no consensus yet. Seems important to build a consensus before making an edit like that, given that people like me can't revert and follow the normal BRD process. Shinealittlelight (talk) 15:13, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Trump himself said the spy was paid a “massive amount of money”. Vox embedded that tweet from Trump saying that in the article. Then Vox replied about no evidence of extravagant fee. So that’s really part of Spygate too. starship.paint ~ KO 15:46, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • He was paid a million dollars, and Trump thought that was a huge amount.
I don't know of any RS which imply that it was about some other person than Halper. Trump's first uses of the term have that specific context. That he later muddies the waters by throwing around the terms "spy" and "spying" are another matter. He's an expert at sowing confusion. It has served him well in business as a short-term strategy, but has, of course, been terrible as a long-term strategy, because it undermines his credibility, and even the banks learned they couldn't trust anything he said. The same applies now to his international relations. No one trusts him, and by extension, they no longer trust America.
You want a "subsection devoted to spelling out the varying uses of 'spygate'." That would be a good idea, but I suspect what you're seeking (lots of material) is varying uses of the words "spy" and "spying" applied by Trump and supporters to the various aspects of the Russia investigation, which includes Spygate and several other things. Only the use of those words, as applied to Halper and Spygate, would be on-topic here. A different article could cover their general use of the words "spy" and "spying" for those other things. We must stay on-topic. -- BullRangifer (talk) 15:29, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
No, I'm saying that even if you just look at how NYT, WaPo, CNN, and other such sources gloss the actual word 'spygate', you find substantive variation that affects how we are deciding the "false vs unsupported" issue, as well as how we decide various other things. I don't have time to make a complete case, but here's just one example: [24]. Here we have spygate glossed without the big payment part. Again, there are loads of other examples. They often say nearly the same thing with slightly different levels of specificity, but you can find RSs that say Spygate is just the theory that there was improper spying. Shinealittlelight (talk) 17:26, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

A few concerns[edit]

I’m not here at the behest or to weigh in on any of the present RFCs, or commenting on them generally. But I will note that it seems there is some overlap between them, which likely requires some uninvolved administrator(s) oversight. And while I’m sure some might welcome such, wherever they might happen to blow in the ideological wind, the fact that there’s an obvious large scale off-Wiki canvassing/meatpuppetry concern should give regular editors pause. I’m not sure whether there’s any remedy to this, to be honest, but I’m sure it’s been a topic of some precedent. Perhaps more veteran editors than myself can enlighten me. Regardless, all these changes seem premature, and given the obvious political trenches for some, couldn’t we err on the side of caution and wait just a few days? If not for more information, than for a breather. Symmachus Auxiliarus (talk) 01:55, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

User:Symmachus Auxiliarus - Agree, slow things down. I'm generally in favor of the RFCs taking the full 30 days, and a 48-hour waiting period for any breaking news. To me allowing time is a practical necessity because it takes time for responses to show up, and for whatever the WEIGHT will be to become apparent. Slowing things down curbing mob enthusiasms or puppetry seems a likely side benefit. But I haven't seen such be put in as a control, there is a large following (on all sides) that hate to wait, and admins seem to go for availability of discretionary sanctions. Stay tuned -- it's an interesting case. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 02:14, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

While Barr’s testimony is disputed...[edit]

can we at least include language like this under an April 2019 subsection?

Trump’s Spygate allegations were widely debunked at the time, but gained renewed interest in April 2019 after attorney general William Barr testified to Congress that “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign, although his characterization of “spying” was ambiguous and he declined to provide specific evidence. He stated he was assembling a team to examine the matter, although the Justice Department inspector general had been looking into it and related matters for some time and was expected to release his report within weeks

soibangla (talk) 18:10, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

  • I support this. Neutrally worded, accurate, current information that is bourn out by the available sources. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 19:43, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • That looks fine to me too. – Muboshgu (talk) 20:20, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Yeah, totally missed the "spying did occur" error. He said "I think spying did occur". – Muboshgu (talk) 21:43, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Looks good to me. -- BullRangifer (talk) 21:08, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Not sure "widely debunked at the time" really works. There was no evidence presented for such debunking. Mr Ernie (talk) 21:14, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Maybe "viewed as false" (by RS) at the time would work better. -- BullRangifer (talk) 21:20, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Strike that. They are still viewed as false by RS, so those words are misleading and should be left out. -- BullRangifer (talk) 21:21, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Weigh in at False vs. Unsupported— Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 21:32, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Maybe just "Trump’s Spygate allegations gained renewed interest in April 2019 after attorney general William Barr testified to Congress that “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign, although his characterization of “spying” was ambiguous and he declined to provide specific evidence. He stated he was assembling a team to examine the matter, although the Justice Department inspector general had been looking into it and related matters for some time and was expected to release his report within weeks." to keep it simple. How many times do we need to clarify this is a conspiracy theory?— Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 21:35, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
That works for me. soibangla (talk) 01:24, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Again, my problem is that we need a source for the Trump’s Spygate allegations gained renewed interest... bit before we could go anywhere else. A non-opinion piece (so we can cite it for statements of fact) which mentions Spygate by name (so the connection isn't WP:SYNTH.) And if / when we have such a source, we'd have to rely on its framing and tone. --Aquillion (talk) 01:32, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Well, I'd hesitate to use AG Barr’s Testimony Reignites ‘Spygate’ Debate soibangla (talk) 01:42, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Clearly not, according to WP:RSP. The Daily Caller was deprecated in the 2019 RfC, which showed consensus that the site publishes "false or fabricated information". starship.paint ~ KO 01:51, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes. I know. soibangla (talk) 02:06, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
What is the process for whitelisting a single article from a deprecated source? Would that require another RfC? Some of the DC's articles are quite objective, even if the bulk of the publication ranges from heavily sensationalized to totally unverified. This particular article doesn't look like it deviates from the current discussion at all, and it's comprised mostly of quotes. If this is the only source keeping up with the discussion let's run it through the gauntlet. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 00:02, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
With all the sources for a story like this; why would you want to whitelist an article from such a poor source? Find a good source. O3000 (talk) 00:14, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Have you read the article? It's a good article.
(Why would anyone ever want to whitelist an article from a poor source? Yet there are still provisions for that.)
If there were another article, from a reliable source such as Newsweek for example, I would prefer to use that one. However, this [1] article clearly reflects the current information surrounding the controversy, and shows that people do in fact consider Barr's investigation to be related to Spygate, and that Barr's testimony to Congress has reignited the debate. The DC is not great, but this article is fine. It reflects everything already reported on cable news and is one of the only sources in print that does so. It deserves consideration. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 00:57, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Having been forced to read it – it looks quite disjointed. But, that hardly matters as it simply makes no sense to say that we should use a deprecated source because it’s nowhere else. If it is only in a deprecated source, that alone suggests we shouldn’t use it. O3000 (talk) 02:11, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
SK8RBOI, you ask: "Why would anyone ever want to whitelist an article from a poor source." There is one situation where we do that. Let's say Rush Limbaugh wrote some typically nonsensical stuff on a very unreliable website we have blacklisted. If that statement was worth quoting in his own article, as an example of his beliefs on the subject, we could make an exception for that specific use of the article. It's a one-time thing. I've seen that happen. -- BullRangifer (talk) 15:36, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Would using the Daily Caller, a website that promotes conspiracy theories, to define a conspiracy theory then not also be a reasonable move? I only suggest this because we're not trying to establish the Spygate claims as factually true, we're trying to establish that these additional claims are also part of Spygate, or are becoming part of Spygate. Our favored sources do not use "Spygate" to refer to these new claims, although the claims are clearly related to Spygate, but the Daily Caller (among other far less reliable sources) actually does. I think that out of these sources that have updated the conspiracy theory, the DC is the most palatable, or is at least the least objectionable. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 22:15, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
In articles about themselves, we can quote content from the unreliable source, as long as it isn't "unduly self-serving". Outside of articles about themselves (the unreliable sources or persons), we only use RS, never unreliable sources. When RS quote or refer to what unreliable sources say, then we can quote the RS about it.
I have sometimes found content in unreliable sources that was really sharply written (like WOW!), and I wondered if it could be used. To deal with that, I have searched to see if RS have picked up their specific wordings. Sometimes I find a RS in that way, and can thus justify entering content which is a fringe view normally only found on unreliable websites.
It's a due weight matter. We weigh due weight between various RS, but never between RS vs unreliable sources. We don't pit them against each other. When a RS describes a conspiracy theory, we document it, but give it less weight. We must, after all, document the theory, even when it's false. Face-wink.svg -- BullRangifer (talk) 00:00, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
Distraction from IP
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Trump claimed his campaign was being wire tapped by the federal government. Hence, Spygate was born. The myopic pin holing aka moving the goalposts resulting in Spygate means Obama engineered a coup attempt! Given the current not NPOV obviously being pushed here-unless Obama is convicted of treason this will continue to be a conspiracy theory. Even though the entire world at this point knows the Trump campaign was spied upon by the federal government. Yes, spying is a synonym for counter intelligence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:56, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Hold up, please! Soibangla - where are the sources? Also, I would say add “allegations of May 2018 and June 2018” to the first sentence. starship.paint ~ KO 00:30, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Pretty much all of it is here. We can add "of May 2018 and June 2018,” but wasn't that already established earlier? soibangla (talk) 00:42, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Soibangla: - first, you've sourced the easy stuff. I think your source doesn't cover "Trump’s Spygate allegations ... gained renewed interest in April 2019 after attorney general William Barr testified to Congress" Second, yes it was established earlier, but apparently many people still have their own idea of what Spygate is, so no harm to reinforce our message that it's the May/June 2018 stuff that is being debunked. starship.paint ~ KO 01:05, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Well, Spygate wasn't in the press much for months before Barr testified, as far as I see, but I could be wrong about that. Just the sudden meatpuppetry here seems to confirm renewed interest. soibangla (talk) 01:13, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Soibangla - we can't use meatpuppetry here to write an article, unless this is covered by reliable sources. starship.paint ~ KO 01:51, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I'm aware of that. soibangla (talk) 01:58, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Do we have sources using the term 'spygate' specifically in reference to Barr's opinions? I don't feel we can include it without that unambiguous connection, since that's the focus of the article. --Aquillion (talk) 01:27, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support either one of the proposed. I just read an May 21, 2018 article in WaPo (yeah, I know I'm way behind) wherein they identified one of the FBI's "secret informants" (isn't that what a spy is?) so it appears that Barr is technically correct but maybe not politically correct. If we need sources to verify "secret informant" following are 3 more that covered the counterintelligence part naming Stefan Halper before WaPo released his name: WSJ, NY Mag, and Axios. Atsme Talk 📧 01:14, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Those sources don't mention Spygate or Barr at all. We need to stay on topic, not just WP:SYNTH up whatever random articles editors here feel are cool. I mean, I'm glad you personally got something from those articles, but we can't Atsme, a Wikipedia editor, read these articles and was of the opinion that they meant Barr was correct, because, they argued, isn't an informant who gave the FBI information about possible Russian influence basically exactly like the Obama administration planting a paid spy? We can't do that - you need sources specifically stating the points you want to make (ie. ones mentioning Spygate by name, and ones unambiguously connecting those to Barr.) Then we would have to rely on the interpretation of reliable sources. --Aquillion (talk) 01:27, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Either seem fairly reasonable. Heck could pick just about any source scattered around this talk page to support it as well. At this point it looks like there is consensus to include. PackMecEng (talk) 01:54, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No, there is no consensus to include when the sources haven't even been decided yet. Are we going to add the text without sources? If it's so easy to provide the relevant sources, why don't you do it, PackMecEng? starship.paint ~ KO 01:56, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Well two oppose and six support is good enough. Sure I will bite.[25][26][27] Also yes opinion pieces are perfectly acceptable for certain things such as for subjective things like gaining renewed interest. PackMecEng (talk) 02:04, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @PackMecEng: - vote numbers can't beat WP:V + WP:OR. In my view, none of these articles cover "Trump’s Spygate allegations ... gained renewed interest in April 2019 after attorney general... " Can you point me to specific quotes that back up this phrase? By the way, per WP:NEWSORG (op-eds) are reliable primary sources for statements attributed to that editor or author, but are rarely reliable for statements of fact.. starship.paint ~ KO 02:11, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Gained renewed interest is a subjective term. Are you saying this whole incident did not spark new interest in the subject? That would be a rather odd things to say considering the amount of sources that came from him talking about it. Also the sources satisfy verifiability so not even an issue there. You asked for sources that support the text and several have been provided by me and others so I assume there is no issue now correct? Otherwise this is getting disruptive. PackMecEng (talk) 02:17, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @PackMecEng: - you've missed my point entirely. I know that there are sources on Barr's testimony. That's not in contention. I am saying that if we want to write that this incident sparked interest, we must have the source to say it. My question is which reliable source says that there has been renewed interest in Spygate in April 2019 due to Barr's testimony? Quote, please? starship.paint ~ KO 02:31, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • As everyone else is mentioning, it is the number of sources presented. If that is your sticking point what would you suggest for alternative wording that satisfies your personal view of police? Even though consensus says it is fine. PackMecEng (talk) 02:40, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • It' not an issue of wording. Were I to remove the phrase in contention (Spygate allegations ... gained renewed interest after), then the whole paragraph would lack a link to this article on Spygate. starship.paint ~ KO 02:54, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
When googling "spygate trump" before April 2019, the last reference to it I see is in June 2018. Do we really need to provide a RS to prove that it has gained renewed interest? soibangla (talk) 02:21, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • In my view, we definitely need a reliable source, otherwise that's really original research. starship.paint ~ KO 02:31, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
How about [28]. It says Barr's remarks caused pundits to talk about all the spygate-related issues.Shinealittlelight (talk) 02:22, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm going to quote that part here: Barr’s comments kicked up a lot of dust in the world of political punditry, dust that Trump is happy to keep aloft. Conservatives and Trump supporters have seized on the semantic question of what constitutes “spying” as a rationale for demonstrating that the Trump-Barr presentation of what happened is accurate ... That to me, seems to be saying that Barr generated interest in "spying". However two links are missing: that "spying" is equal to "Spygate allegations", and that there is "renewed" interest. starship.paint ~ KO 02:31, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
I disagree. He goes on to talk about how Trump is glad to use this situation to encourage pundits to argue about whether his campaign was targeted. Shinealittlelight (talk) 02:40, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Here's another quote that might help: As with “spying,” arguing that his campaign was targeted serves a robust political goal. Instead of talking about how a candidate who was fighting the Republican establishment was forced to welcome help from sometimes-sketchy outsiders, Trump would instead rather talk about how the Deep State was out to get him. And so, inevitably it seems, we do.Shinealittlelight (talk) 02:47, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Shinealittlelight - Again I struggle to equate that quote you just listed as a source for to "Trump’s Spygate allegations ... gained renewed interest in April 2019 after attorney general... ". I'm starting to question my sanity here. starship.paint ~ KO 02:48, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
starship.paint, let me try again. After summarizing Barr's testimony and the reactions of Trump and conservatives in the media, Bump says "But before we dig into the specifics of what Trump and his supporters are arguing, let’s review what we know happened." He then details all the conceivably spying-related occurrences over the last couple of years, and he argues that this does not add up to "spying on the campaign". He closes by suggesting that Trump will nevertheless continue to talk about this, since for political reasons he wants us all to debate whether there was spying on his campaign, and we will "inevitably" continue to do so. He thus presents an overall picture according to which Trump and conservatives in the media are successfully using Barr's testimony to reignite discussion of whether the campaign was spied on. Shinealittlelight (talk) 10:38, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Shinealittlelight - notice that in your reply, you do not mention Spygate. Instead, you refer to conceivably spying-related occurrences over the last couple of years. Reading the article, this does not seem to be equivalent to Spygate, but something wider. Bump talks about Manafort and Flynn, both of whom aren't involved in Spygate. Bump talks about the FISA warrant on Page, which isn't related with Spygate. It talks about the FBI investigation into Papadopoulos, which isn't Spygate either. As for your comment about inevitably, per this quote: Trump would instead rather talk about how the Deep State was out to get him. And so, inevitably it seems, we do. - I interpret it as Bump saying as we discussing how the Deep State is out to get Trump. That, too, is related to, but not exactly Spygate, as this article is presented now. However, this article you presented may be useful in other ways, from Trump's comments themselves. starship.paint ~ KO 08:55, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Exactly. This article isn't about any uses of the terms "spy" and "spying". It's about a specific use by Trump, made in a specific historical context. We must stay on-topic. -- BullRangifer (talk) 15:41, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Soibangla: - in a point unrelated to my above arguments, per Associated Press - a significant point is that Barr never said there was illegal spying -> exact quote from Barr -> "I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I am saying that I am concerned about it and looking into it." Furthermore, your text says Barr testified to Congress that “spying did occur” when Barr actually said: "I think spying did occur". The below is my suggested change: starship.paint ~ KO 03:05, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

... attorney general William Barr testified to Congress: “I think spying did occur” on the Trump campaign, although his characterization of “spying” was ambiguous and he declined to provide specific evidence. Barr then clarified that he was "not saying that improper surveillance occurred", but that he was assembling a team to examine the matter ...

My preference would be to avoid a slippery slope of qualifying his remarks beyond "ambiguous," as he was kinda all over the place, and it invites others to come back with "yeah, but he also said..." which is why this topic is so contentious and seemingly deadlocked, but I suppose your alternative is reasonable. soibangla (talk) 22:59, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Proposal: Aftermath section in light of Trump's April 2019 comments[edit]

This Washington Post source, [29] provided by Shinealittlelight, quotes Trump's reaction to Barr's comments,Trump agrees with Barr and says: “There was absolutely spying into my campaign. ... in my opinion it was illegal spying, unprecedented spying ... There was spying in my campaign ...” starship.paint ~ KO 09:23, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

In my view, Trump's allegation, while he not explicitly connected to Spygate, seems related and similar enough to his past Spygate allegations to warrant a mention. Here's what he alleged previously: If the person placed very early into my campaign wasn't a SPY ... The spy was there early in the campaign ... counter-intelligence operation into the Trump Campaign As such, I propose an Aftermath section on this related development, where you would include this comment by Trump, and also you can include Barr's comment as proposed above, both as related developments, but not exactly Spygate. Thus, the following proposal: starship.paint ~ KO 09:23, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

On April 10, 2019, attorney general William Barr testified to Congress: “I think spying did occur” on the Trump campaign, although his characterization of “spying” was ambiguous and he declined to provide specific evidence. Barr then clarified that he was "not saying that improper surveillance occurred", but that he was assembling a team to examine the matter, although the Justice Department inspector general had been looking into it and related matters for some time and was expected to release his report within weeks. (paragraph break) On April 11, Trump wholeheartedly endorsed Barr's comments, declaring: “There was absolutely spying into my campaign. ... in my opinion it was illegal spying, unprecedented ... There was spying in my campaign, and [Barr's] answer was a very accurate one.”

PackMecEng, pinging you because you earlier asked for alternative wording that would satisfy me. This is it. starship.paint ~ KO 09:22, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Oh well I might as well just tag everyone who has participated in this discussion so far: @Soibangla, Shinealittlelight, Aquillion, and Atsme: and @SK8RBOI, Objective3000, BullRangifer, and Mr Ernie: and @Phmoreno: who earlier raised this quote on the talk page. starship.paint ~ KO 10:36, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

  • Thanks for the ping starship. I think this is a worthy inclusion and well worded at that. The only criticism I have is the "Aftermath" header; I think something in the vein of "April 2019 Developments" (but more well phrased) would be more appropriate. We can't be certain that this is the aftermath, in that the controversy has ended and these developments are occurring only in the wake of the conspiracy theory. "Ongoing controversy" would be similarly inaccurate since we cannot be certain that the story will continue to develop. To say they are developments and they occurred in April 2019 is unexciting but appears to be relatively safer. Just my 0.02. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SK8RBOI (talkcontribs) 21:55, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @SK8RBOI: - the whole problem is that the reliable sources are not explicitly connecting this to Spygate, the closest one is a USA Today opinion source. Had the sources said "Barr's comments are related to Spygate!" and "Trump's comments are related to Spygate!", we wouldn't have this mess. This is why I'm putting it in Aftermath. starship.paint ~ KO 00:58, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • And yet it isn't an aftermath to Spygate. It's just another use of the words "spy" and "spying".
Spygate does not refer to all alleged spying on the Trump campaign, and not all alleged spying on the campaign refers to Spygate. There was surveillance of specific individuals as part of the investigation into Russian interference, and that ended up including the whole campaign, including Trump. He is the chief suspect, the spider in the center of the web, whose spiders do nothing without his orders, or at least his approval. This was still not a politically motivated investigation, but was part of the investigation into Russian interference. Trump and his campaign members were obviously deeply involved with Russians and Trump clearly benefited from the interference. This included many secret meetings (with Trump literally trumping Don Jr and Kushner to issue a false press report about the Trump Tower meeting), and then lying repeatedly about all of it. All of this created justified suspicions that they were party to the interference and made all the investigations completely justified and legitimate. Never before has an administration and president acted in this manner.
So should this even be included here? Not if it isn't clearly about Spygate (Halper). This is about "Other uses" of the terms "spy" and "spying" by Trump and Co., which is a different article, actually a disambiguation page I'm working on. -- BullRangifer (talk) 03:30, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
This is unreasonable because as Starship.paint made clear, a neutral observer can read Trump's new comments as being a continuation of his previous accusations. Trump's core accusation is that he was spied on, and that such spying was illegitimate and partisan in motivation and effects. His allegation of details has changed, however the core accusation has not. Clearly, as referenced by the primary accusers who use the term (Trump, Bongino, Solomon, Carter, Nunes, etc.) the term "SpyGate" is used to denote illegitimate spying on the Trump campaign and/or presidency by members of the Obama administration. Parts of that are as yet unsubstantiated (e.g. calling the predication "illegitimate") and are still under investigation or criminal referral by Barr, Nunes, and various journalists. Parts are well substantiated. It's all fair game for encyclopedic mention. Wookian (talk) 16:38, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Wookian: I'm going to correct your depiction of my remarks: in my view, Trump's April 2019 comments are sufficiently close to his Spygate allegations that this is an Aftermath. In my view, just "spying" is not close enough, because I agree with Aquillion that we can't lump every spying-related bit of commentary into the article. But, since he said "spying in/into my campaign", I do think that is close enough. starship.paint ~ KO 02:10, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
A (hypothetical) neutral observer might choose to hold that opinion, though I'd tend to disagree - based on my search for sources earlier, the only people making that connection are decidedly non-neutral opinion pieces. But we can't cite hypothetical neutral observers, nor can we rely on opinion pieces (especially ones from non-WP:RS outlets) to make a connection in the article voice. If we want to connect something to Spygate in the article voice, we need a non-opinion source doing so directly. Without that, we can only use "Spygate" to refer to Trump's May 2018 statements - we can't just lump every spying-related bit of commentary under that label ourselves. --Aquillion (talk) 17:21, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
Exactly. Besides, Trump, Bongino, Solomon, Carter, Nunes, etc. are not RS. They are just using the term "spying" to rebrand ("Trump privately said that he wanted "to brand" the informant as a "spy" as using a more nefarious term than "informant") the legitimate and sometimes court-ordered and non-political investigations into his campaign, which were all part of national security matters. No one is denying that investigations into Trump's campaign occurred, and if Trump wants to rebrand those investigations, we can't stop him. That doesn't change the fact that at one point in time, he started using the term Spygate in a specific manner to refer to Stefan Halper's contacts with three campaign members. That is the original Spygate accusation, and "we can't just lump every spying-related bit of commentary under that label ourselves." -- BullRangifer (talk) 05:14, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

@Aquillion and BullRangifer: Confusions like these appear to be a persistent problem on this talk page. Perhaps a notice should go at the top to disambiguate it, especially for certain editors which may spend more time reading here than the mainspace? --Calthinus (talk) 17:42, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

Good idea. I have created a FAQ. Feel free to improve it. -- BullRangifer (talk) 23:32, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

@Ahrtoodeetoo: - you removed the link to the FAQ, so I am linking it here: Talk:Spygate (conspiracy theory by Donald Trump)/FAQ. starship.paint ~ KO 02:02, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

My creation of that FAQ was in response to the request above to prevent confusion. It disambiguates the various things that "spy" and "spying" may refer to. Without it, we'll still go in circles and allow fringe theories and rebranding attempts by Trump and Co. to confuse us. -- BullRangifer (talk) 04:54, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

Spygate originated with Louise Mensch and the NY Times in November of 2016 (no evidence other than the NYTimes publishing that the US government was spying on Trump's campaign)[edit]

This discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

In a Times op-ed posted online Friday, Louise Mensch, a writer and former member of the UK Parliament, gives her suggestion for what questions the House Intelligence Committee should ask as it holds hearings on Russia’s influence in the US election. Mensch offers Times readers reason to trust her expertise: “In November, I broke the story that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court had issued a warrant that enabled the F.B.I. to examine communications between ‘U.S. persons’ in the Trump campaign relating to Russia-linked banks," she writes.

“In November, I broke the story that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court had issued a warrant that enabled the F.B.I. to examine communications between ‘U.S. persons’ in the Trump campaign relating to Russia-linked banks," she writes.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk • contribs) 10:51, March 28, 2019‎ (UTC)

This is the no evidence that Trump possessed. The above is the genesis of the public including Donald Trump knowing that the FBI was spying on his campaign. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:09, 10 April 2019 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

I do not appreciate this being deleted. Have 149 separate WP that started with Trump collusion-an unsubstantiated hoax that is nothing more than negative hyperbole and unsubstantiated libel against a living person.. Which is directly against WP policy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:15, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

  • First, this article does not mention Spygate, relevancy has to be demonstrated. Are you talking regarding the June 2018 allegation? Second, this article is an op-ed and is thus only reliable for this author’s opinion. Third, how do you know of 149 separate WP... was it a search? starship.paint ~ KO 00:37, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • See: soibangla (talk) 00:57, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The Mensch (she is a conspiracy theorist) matter is about the well-documented surveillance of Carter Page after he left the campaign, starting in October 2016. This was based on three court-ordered FISA warrants. He had also been the subject of a FISA warrant in 2014, before joining the campaign. He was warned about Russian spies trying to recruit him, and then he kept up his contacts with them, anti-American speech, etc. He was asking to be surveilled. It was the right thing to do. The surveillance of Carter Page is not part of Spygate, which is about Stefan Halper's contacts with three campaign members:
  • Carter Page, a campaign foreign policy adviser who "had extensive discussions" with Halper, starting on July 11-12, 2016, on "a bunch of different foreign-policy-related topics," ending in September 2017.[2][3][4]
  • Sam Clovis, national co-chair of Trump's election campaign, in August 31 or September 1, 2016.[2]
  • George Papadopoulos, a campaign foreign policy adviser, on September 15, 2016,[5] and September 25, 2016.[4]
BullRangifer (talk) 01:23, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

The President accused former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and former FBI agent Peter Strzok and "hundreds of others" of treason and implied they could be punished for it[edit]

This discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it. Should be in the lede. No anonymous sources, no Brennan, Clapper lying to RS sources-he explicitly accused them by name. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:52, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

  • This article doesn’t even mention Spygate at all. Wikipedia presents Spygate as what reliable sources depict it to be, regardless of your personal views. starship.paint ~ KO 00:38, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Scope of theory[edit]

I'm not convinced that the Spygate theory is limited to the Stefan Halper claims, as the FAQ indicates. That appears to have been true in May 2018, but by June 2018 Trump was apparently referring to Spygate to refer to political spying more broadly. For instance, this June 5, 2018 NY Mag Intelligencer source, which we cite 4 times, says nothing about Halper or informants. And this Vox source, which explains the origin of Trump's June 5 tweet, indicates that it was based on allegations by the Gateway Pundit that the Obama administration had planted "multiple spies." No mention of Halper. R2 (bleep) 00:08, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

The Gateway Pundit is not a RS. They have just expanded on Trump's original conspircy theory about Halper by making it "multiple spies". Still no evidence for that one. -- BullRangifer (talk) 04:49, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
The source even says: "Assuming that is what the texts mean, nothing in the messages makes any reference either to the Trump campaign or to Russia." It's not relevant here on several levels. -- BullRangifer (talk) 05:00, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Ahrtoodeetoo: - it's not limited to Halper, and our article does not claim so, see the third paragraph of the lede. The June 2018 claims (I'm correcting your obvious typo of 2016 above) are also referring to Spygate, and they are covered in the article. The Vox source reporting on the June 2018 claims says: "The best way to analyze “Spygate” is not as a partisan dispute, but rather a conspiracy theory". They are viewing it as one big conspiracy theory. starship.paint ~ KO 01:59, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, Barr may not have been talking exclusively about Halper, because he said "I’m not talking about the FBI necessarily but intelligence agencies more broadly”
He may have been talking about this: Still, the wiretap order enabled FBI agents to obtain and read older emails in Mr. Page’s account, including when he was working with the campaign. The inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, has asked those involved in that effort why they did not use a so-called filter team to review the messages and screen out any sensitive but irrelevant information before adding them to the Russia investigation case file. However, there appeared to be no rule requiring such a step, according to a person familiar with the inquiry.
So they didn't just intercept Page's traffic, they hacked his email to read his history. And maybe (?) the NSA actually did the hacking and gave the FBI the results, hence "intelligence agencies more broadly.” If the FBI accepted Jason Miller saying “He’s never been a part of our campaign. Period.” when Page was summarily jettisoned after the Isikoff story the previous day, and didn't use a filter team because of that, Barr may be Monday morning quarterbacking by asserting, despite what Miller said, that Page was named to the campaign in March and was there until September, so looking at Page's emails from March thru September should not have been authorized — in his view. soibangla (talk) 02:13, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
And just because the words "spy" and "spying" are used, does not mean they are necessarily talking about Spygate. Most of the time they aren't. Let's not start making that mistake here. -- BullRangifer (talk) 04:12, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

Yes, "Barr may not have been talking exclusively about Halper", because he never mentioned Spygate, but just used "spying". Not relevant here. Let's stay on-topic. That FAQ really is necessary. -- BullRangifer (talk) 04:51, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

BullRangifer, I agree an FAQ is necessary but my concern is that it describes Spygate too narrowly. I'm not suggesting that Spygate encompasses all spying allegations, god no. I'm saying that it seems to be broader than just Halper. I support reinserting the FAQ once it's consistent with the sources. R2 (bleep) 16:48, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

Is 'Spygate' ambiguous?[edit]

The reliable sources use ‘spygate’ in many different ways. Does ‘spygate’ include the claim that an FBI informant was “in” or “implanted in” or “infiltrating” the campaign? Or is it just the idea that an informant was collecting information from the campaign? Does it include the claim that the use of an informant was politically motivated to help Clinton? Sources conflict on these things. Some reliable sources, oddly enough, define ‘spygate’ as a claim that it is in fact plainly known to be true! (For example, see the second example below.) None of the reliable sources seem to define it the way the Wikipedia article presently defines it, as including a claim about big payment. Here’s a list of the many varying definitions in the reliable sources (note that none of them define it the way we currently define it in the article, to include a claim about a large payment):

The New York Times says that Spygate is the claim that the Obama administration “planted” a spy “deep inside” the Trump campaign to help Clinton win.

The Chicago Tribune says that Spygate is the claim that the FBI obtained information from Halper, who met with three members of Trump’s campaign.

NBC News says that Spygate is just the claim that the FBI used an informant (presumably on the Trump campaign).

MSNBC says that Spygate is the claim that the FBI “infiltrated” his campaign by “implanting” a “spy” in his “operation”.

ABC News says that Spygate is the claim that the Obama Administration used a spy to “infiltrate” the Trump campaign.

Vox says that Spygate is the claim that Halper was a spy who was “implanted” in the campaign to help Hillary.

Vox elsewhere says that Spygate is the claim that the FBI put a spy in the campaign.

Newsweek says that Spygate is the claim that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign.

In addition to these pieces, there are a bunch in which ‘Spygate’ is used but unclearly. Often with no definition at all. But in many cases, the source will describe several paragraphs of facts, and then say “this is what Trump calls Spygate,” which leaves it unclear exactly what is supposed to be included. Here are what I take to be the unclear sources: [30], [31], [32], [33], [34], [35], [36], [37].

In light of all this, I want to suggest that ‘Spygate’ is not uniquely defined by reliable sources. As a result, I think that the article should be titled something like “Controversies about FBI Surveillance in the 2016 Presidential Campaign”. We should then have a sub-section that details the many varying uses of ‘spygate’ to refer to different parts of this controversy, including several uses on which it refers to a conspiracy theory. Shinealittlelight (talk) 16:34, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

I share your concern to some extent about the ambiguity of the conspiracy theory, but (1) I disagree with your proposed solution, which seems to blend fringe subjects with non-fringe subjects, and (2) I think you're misconstruing some of these sources. To take an example, you say that the Chicago Tribune source says that Spygate is "the claim that the FBI obtained information from Halper, who met with three members of Trump’s campaign." This isn't accurate. The source says that Spygate refers to this claim, not that it is this claim. The source makes clear that Spygate is false because Halper didn't "spy" on the Trump campaign because "spying" requires the use of tradecraft to obtain information. I believe you similarly misread the NBC source as well. R2 (bleep) 16:57, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
In fact, when you adjust for those inaccuracies, it appears to me the sources you've linked are pretty consistent in their portrayals of Spygate, namely that the FBI under the Obama administration implanted a spy in the Trump campaign. R2 (bleep) 17:04, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Good point R2 about "refers to" the claim--I agree with you that I was interpreting this, and perhaps mistakenly. To say exactly what Kessler means by 'spygate' in that article then requires us to make some inferences, and I doubt everyone here is going to agree on the correct interpretation. But thanks for saying that you share my general concern to some extent. I definitely recognize that some of my descriptions of what the sources say may be controversial or mistaken, but I think that even though that's true, my general point about ambiguity is right. What do you think should be done? My suggestion was just that--a suggestion--and I'm open to other ideas. I just think the article currently gives the impression that 'Spygate' has some clear unambiguous meaning, when it really doesn't.Shinealittlelight (talk) 17:06, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Agree with R2. Yes, the term is ambiguous. Partly because conspiracy theories are often ambiguous as they are built upon sand and tend to morph. Partly because Trump tends to change his stories. I think we need to include the various claims. I think the suggested title: “Controversies about FBI Surveillance in the 2016 Presidential Campaign” is highly misleading as it suggests wrongdoing on the part of the FBI and legitimizes Spygate. The title “Spygate conspiracy theory” is more accurate and concise. Or, theory could be plural. O3000 (talk) 17:08, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
We just moved from "Spygate (conspiracy theory)" in March after a move request (initiated by moi) and we're not going back (with or without parentheses) without explicitly overturning that consensus. R2 (bleep) 17:15, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
We appear to be on track toward that move. O3000 (talk) 17:19, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Read why we moved away from that title in the first place before jumping on the train. Not a single person who recently stated support for the move back has said anything about football. R2 (bleep) 17:21, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
I missed your second point, R2, before posting my last comment. Two replies. First, if the understnading of 'spygate' that you suggest is right, it differs from what is currently in the wiki article. Second, I disagree that the sources are consistent. Does it matter whether there was a political motivation? The NBC source says that the FBI just used an informant, not that the informant was part of the campaign. Does the spy have to be in the campaign? (Does 'embed' mean the same as 'in' or 'inflitrate'?) Etc. O3, do you think all the uses I detailed above count spygate as a conspiracy theory? Shinealittlelight (talk) 17:12, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Those differences are pretty small. All conspiracy theories come in a variety of flavors. R2 (bleep) 17:19, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Ok, I disagree. It's highly relevant to whether the theory has been shown to be false. The more the theory builds in, the less credible it is, and more conspiracy-theory-ish. If it's just the claim that the campaign was spied on (per NBC news and Newsweek above), that's way harder to show it to be false.Shinealittlelight (talk) 17:22, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
And yet...sources like the ChiTri article say it was false because it alleged spying, not because it alleged implantation in the campaign. R2 (bleep) 17:26, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
So you disagree, then, with several other editors who have argued at length above that it is important to represent spygate as including, not just the claim that there was spying on the campaign, but that the spy was a member of the campaign. This is my point. Everyone is using the term differently, and this includes varying uses among those who think the the theory has been shown false. Shinealittlelight (talk) 17:33, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
I'm not going to get into a point-for-point on whom I agree with and whom I disagree with on specific points. I believe that if various sources are describing slightly different variations on the theory then we should describe those variations to the extent they're reliably sourced and noteworthy. R2 (bleep) 17:38, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Sounds like we have a disagreement about how important the differences are. I do not agree that they are slightly differerent, but I have argued that they are substantive differences that interact in a complex way with the discussion above about whether spygate has been shown to be false.Shinealittlelight (talk) 17:41, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't see any inconsistency between these sources and our basic definition of Spygate. They are just different ways of wording it. They may emphasize or mention (and not mention) different aspects, but they don't contradict any part of the full Trump tweets, which are the basis for the conspiracy theory. They are all describing the same basic ideas. -- BullRangifer (talk) 17:22, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
So if I say, per NBC and Newsweek, that spygate = the claim that the campaign was spied on by the FBI, you agree with that description of it? Shinealittlelight (talk) 17:25, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Of course, because that is a basic part of the Spygate accusation by Trump. It's not the whole thing, but certainly a basic part of it. -- BullRangifer (talk) 17:28, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Er, '=' doesn't mean 'is a part of'.Shinealittlelight (talk) 17:30, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
You are again misrepresenting the NBC source. R2 (bleep) 17:29, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Here's the quote I was going on: Trump has been referring to the FBI's use of an informant as "spygate". Seems like what I said, but maybe there's another way to read it. Shinealittlelight (talk) 17:35, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Shinealittlelight, I want to make sure I understand you correctly, since you seem to be focusing unnecessarily hard on a very specific detail to the exclusion of what isn't said there, even though that is the unspoken context. Are you implying that Trump and NBC are talking about a different person than Halper? If so, then that would indeed be a very different defintion, but I know of no RS which implies otherwise. -- BullRangifer (talk) 18:09, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
I honestly don't know what Trump and NBC had in mind in this regard. I find it plausible that they mean Halper, but many people have thought that Trump was not referring to Halper but to someone who was "deeply embedded" (NYT) or in some sense a member of the campaign. Some have claimed on this very page that the theory is false for this reason--that he wasn't just saying Halper did what he did, but that he was saying something else for which we have no evidence, that there was an unidentified spy "inside" (whatever that means) the campaign. I myself don't know what they mean. I only maintain that there are many different claims going under the title of "Spygate" in the reliable sources and even in our discussion here. Shinealittlelight (talk) 18:23, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Right, the NBC source refers to the use of an informant, not just spying. R2 (bleep) 17:58, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Fair enough. I think those terms are equivalent here, but maybe I'm wrong. Either way, it seems to make no difference to what we were talking about. Shinealittlelight (talk) 18:01, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Correct. Trump chose to call him a "spy" as it has a more onerous implication than "informant". That's just rebranding by Trump. It's still about the same person. -- BullRangifer (talk) 18:11, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

Without singling out an individual editor I would like to say that narrowly defining what spygate should be could be pursued by editors to restrict it to details Trump got wrong to continue to call an actual event a conspiracy theory. I think you will be wise to pick your battles carefully and let this one go. We all know Trump shoots from the hip often with little factual basis but he knew something was going on, and further investigation reveals he wasnt wrong on spying. Reliable sources claiming a CT at the time do not make this a historically significant story. I suggest a review of the Dewey beats Truman story. The newspaper was in error. They werent conspiracy theorists. IN SUMMARY I wholly agree with the OP and his suggested renaming.Batvette (talk) 00:13, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

"he knew something was going on, and further investigation reveals he wasnt wrong on spying" - ummm, no.Volunteer Marek (talk) 00:29, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for your comment, Batvette. I agree that people here are trying to narrowly define 'spygate', and I agree this is a problem. However, if some RSs say that 'spygate' means the theory that there was a spy who was a member of the campaign, and they claim that this is an unproven conspiracy theory (e.g., the NYT), then we should say that in the article. (That's how Wikipedia works, right? We say what the RSs say.) The problem is that not all the RSs define 'spygate' narrowly and call it a conspiracy theory. In fact, some define 'spygate' as a claim that is now known to be true. So what's wrong is not that we should ignore some RSs, but that we should pay attention to all of them, and not pick and choose the ones that fit a certain political narrative. Shinealittlelight (talk) 00:35, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
-gate means scandal. What RS claim this is a scandal, as opposed to a conspiracy theory? Are you claiming the conspiracy theory is not?O3000 (talk) 00:43, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Some RSs use 'spygate' for the claim that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign and do not call it a conspiracy theory. See, for example, the Newsweek article linked above. On the other hand, the NYT (for example) uses 'spygate' for an unproven theory that they call a conspiracy theory. So different RSs use 'spygate' in substantively different ways. The article should not pretend otherwise. Shinealittlelight (talk) 01:02, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

Break down of the original Spygate accusation by Trump[edit]

Let's break down the original Spygate accusation by Trump. Trump made the following accusations without providing any evidence:

"If the person placed very early into my campaign wasn't a SPY put there by the previous Administration for political purposes, how come such a seemingly massive amount of money was paid for services rendered - many times higher than normal ... Follow the money! The spy was there early in the campaign and yet never reported Collusion with Russia, because there was no Collusion. He was only there to spy for political reasons and to help Crooked Hillary win - just like they did to Bernie Sanders, who got duped!" Donald Trump, Twitter, May 22, 2018[1]
  1. "The person", labeled a "spy". (This is about ONE person, who is Halper.)
  2. Put there "very early" into campaign. (Therefore NOT about ANY later instances of supposed "spying".)
  3. Placed "into" the campaign. (Not just snooping/talking to three members, with no attempt to infiltrate and join the campaign.)
  4. Put there by Obama administration. (IOW, the FBI, CIA, Justice Dept., whatever...)
  5. Put there "for political purposes" (As opposed to the national security purposes of the Russia investigation.)
  6. Paid a "massive amount of money". (Halper was paid money as an informant over a period of many years, mostly before the Trump campaign.)
  7. Put there "to help Crooked Hillary win".

Not every description in RS is going to mention every single aspect, but that doesn't put them against each other or mean they are wrong. They just aren't being complete, which isn't always necessary for a news story.

We should just stick to history and base our definition on the Trump origins. That it may have morphed later is another matter. Such morphing could be added to this article under sections like "Further developments", or be the basis for new articles.

When the terms "spy" and/or "spying" are used to refer to other articles, it should be added there, not here. For example, when "spying" is referring to Carter Page's FISA warrant surveillance, then it should be dealt with at the Carter Page article, not here. We should not allow the deliberate confusion spread by Trump to influence us and cause us to fold every instance of legal investigation and surveillance into this article, because it doesn't belong here. This article isn't about ALL alleged spying, IOW all investigations that might tangentially have touched him and his campaign. It's about three specific instances of intelligence gathering by Halper.

Trump was talking about Halper, and we need to limit this article to that topic, and any further developments shouldn't change that basic definition. As mentioned above, such developments might be dealt with in section(s) further down in this article, but they don't change the basic and original definition. History locked that one down when Trump made his false accusations. Later history gets dealt with in later sections and/or other articles. -- BullRangifer (talk) 18:05, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

That might have been the theory in May 2018, but then Trump tweeted a different, broader variation on June 5. According to Vox, that second tweet was based on a theory by the Gateway Pundit involving more than one informant implanted into the trump campaign. Isn't the subject of this discussion identical to "Scope of theory" above? How about we consolidate these discussions? R2 (bleep) 18:15, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
This comes under the category of "further develoments" I mention above: "any further developments shouldn't change that basic definition. As mentioned above, such developments might be dealt with in section(s) further down in this article, but they don't change the basic and original definition.... Later history gets dealt with in later sections and/or other articles."
What do you think of that way of including it here? -- BullRangifer (talk) 20:14, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Normally we would never include anything from The Gateway Pundit, but, because Trump made it notable (or was it just Vox which made a synthesis?), we can include it, but give it very little weight. -- BullRangifer (talk) 20:16, 19 April 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Tatum_5/22/2018 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
The tweet you cite is a primary source in this case. Furthermore, as has been said of other sources many times on this page, it does not refer to 'spygate' explicitly. Shinealittlelight (talk) 18:16, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Come back after you find a WP:Reliable source (hint: WP:RSP has a list, use those in green) explicitly mentioning that Mensch's allegations are Spygate. starship.paint 12:08, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
Let's break down the original Spygate accusations by Trump

1)November 2016, Mensch publishes article in the NY Times informing the world that Trump is being spied upon by the government.

2)March 4th, 2017 for the first time Trump tweets referencing spying-Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

3)The media deny these allegations, ridicule Trump for using the words "wires-tapped"

4)That is Spygate.

5)The rest is not NPOV agenda pushing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2600:8800:1E80:1A90:BD03:1E7B:B3DA:BDFE (talk) 00:24, 20 April 2019 (UTC)

Actually the sources are pretty clear that the "wires tapped" tweet was something different and came way before Spygate. R2 (bleep) 04:14, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
This is a repeat of the off-topic point made by the now-blocked (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · filter log · WHOIS · RDNS · RBLs · http · block user · block log). This appears to be block evasion. Since it's off-topic, let's ignore this. -- BullRangifer (talk) 06:46, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
We don't post for friends, Chandler. If your friend has something to say they can say it themselves. R2 (bleep) 17:22, 22 April 2019 (UTC)

I'm trying to post this for a friend. Stop deleting it. (Personal attack removed)

That doesn't explicitly mention Spygate. Most of the content doesn't explicitly mention Spygate. None of the content explicitly mentions the beginning of Spygate Nine separate editors have posted that the colloquial definition of Spygate is all encompassing Trump's claim that the federal government was spying on him and his campaign. While the minority posts Spygate literally means one spy. The minority of editors are using opinion pieces while shunning the same use by the majority. The minority has been using the but it doesn't say Spygate while using material that doesn't say Spygate. The minority has accused the majority of meat puppetry even though the minority sought like minded editors themselves. The minority has disregarded numerous votes of the majority. Lastly, a minority editor that was just put on 1yr probation last week for abusing editors on talk pages despite editing for over 10Yrs 500 edits a month not only blocked the content that I posted above, accused me of evading a block. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2600:8800:1e80:1a90:3de3:4225:86d7:c541 (talk) 17:13, 22 April 2019 (UTC)

President Trump's theory....[edit]

Conspiracy theories based on interpretations found in unreliable sources.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

President Trump's theory is not a theory. After FBI Agent Strzok, FBI Lawyer Lisa Page, and DOJ official Bruce Ohr's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, that theory becomes fact.

Conspiracy theory by Donald Trump misleads the reader into believing President Trump's assertions were fictional. We now know this not to be the case. One need not go past page 7 of Bruce Ohr's transcript to comprehend that Christopher Steele provided Bruce Ohr with information. Page, former Lawyer with the FBI, transcript outlines the FBI's role in spying on candidate Trump and her close relationship with former FBI Agent Strzok. It also outlines the fact that Attorney General Loretta Lynch was indeed instrumental, not only in the Hillary Clinton investigation, but overseeing the investigation into candidate Donald Trump.

Lisa Page, from transcript provided above, asserts that former President Barack Hussein Obama wanted to be kept abreast of all that was going on. It does not require a PHD to determine President Obama was aware of the spying on candidate Trump. Former FBI Agent, Peter Strzok's testimony is easily obtained and shows a bias so blatant it would cloud any investigators better judgement. So your assertion that President elect Trump made said claims without any proof are now proven to be false.

It is now well known that President Elect Trump was visited at Trump Tower by Mike Rogers, Chief at the time of NSA's Central Security Service, ten days after the 2016 Presidential election. Why did Rogers visit President Elect Trump? He was concerned about the unusual amount of Unmasking and About Queries within the NSA's database, he knows President Elect Trump is being spied on. The very next day President Elect Trump announces on Twitter that the Obama Administration had wiretapped or bugged him, he also leaves Trump Tower. A day after President Elect Trump evacuates Trump Tower, Mike Rogers is fired by President Obama. Do you honestly believe Mike Rogers was fired out of the blue and there was no connection to his firing and his meeting with President Elect Trump?

The Obama administration, history will show, started a politically motivated spying campaign against candidate Trump. This spying bypassed normal U.S. law at first. It then used the DNC, Hillary Clinton, Fusion GPS funded, Christopher Steel Dossier to obtain FISA warrants to legitimize this spying. The Dossier also quoted leaked information to Main Stream Media news sources, which means the News Sources were complicit in this Conspiracy. From the transcripts above to further information gathered, it's now known Top officials of the FBI (James Comey, Andrew McCabe and others) did not verify the Dossier's legitimacy. They basically swore under oath to the FISA Courts that the information they were providing (the probable cause for these warrants) was accurate to the best of their knowledge. This goes against ALL Law Enforcement practices, you verify what you're swearing by before any court, whether a search warrant or arrest. Otherwise you commit perjury. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Timothy0217 (talkcontribs) 17:44, 21 April 2019 (UTC)

That's an awful lot of original research based on views found only in fringe, unreliable sources. The essence of many conspiracy theories is the connection of lots of "dots". Those "dots" are factual events, but the connections, which are not justified in reality, show the bias of the author(s) of the theory. That's what you're describing. Most of your "dots" are well-documented facts found in many of our articles here.
Here's the problem. You are at the article about Trump's "Spygate" conspiracy theory. It has a historical origin, and reliable sources show that he made a number of false statements, exaggerations, and "connections" between "dots" in his tweets. That has not been changed by the "revelations" (many of which we already know and document here) in the Mueller Report.
So please stay on-topic. I'm hatting this thread as it is a violation of our talk page guidelines and an example of advocacy of fringe positions. We don's allow that in articles, and definitely not on talk pages. -- BullRangifer (talk) 21:18, 21 April 2019 (UTC)

Why this article should be deleted[edit]

Several problems exist. First and foremost its intent seems to be a political hit piece, intended on ridiculing the President. While reliable sources declared two years ago it was a conspiracy theory, that was based upon info available at the time. The reliable sources declaring it a conspiracy theory have been superceded by new sources reporting spying. The spying was not exactly what Trump claimed in the past but the underlying issue is being proven true. So maybe we should reduce the article to "Trump got the details wrong". Which makes it not significant enough to even exist. Instead people are pushing for this article to exist probably to suggest thst spying never happened and that Trump is crazy for suggesting it did. Batvette (talk) 19:28, 22 April 2019 (UTC)

That sounds more like a reason to improve the article than to delete it. However, if after reviewing our deletion policy you still feel the article should be deleted, then you're free to nominate it for deletion via the standard AfD process. R2 (bleep) 20:33, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
In my view, a more neutral approach than deletion would be to recognize that 'spygate' is now being used by reliable sources in ten or so substantively different ways (see discussion of this above). We could then improve the article's neutrality by writing it in a way that reflects this fact, with one sub-section devoted to the relevant conspiracy theory as reported in some reliable sources. Shinealittlelight (talk) 21:10, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
Please do not spam every discussion with your view, which you've already amply communicated. This discussion is about deletion. R2 (bleep) 21:16, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
Nope, the discussion was both about deletion and about a contrary suggestion, due to you, that the article should be improved rather than deleted. I then chimed in along the same lines to suggest a way of improving the article that you disagree with, but that--given Batvette's remarks--Batvette might find congenial. So my remark was on target and not out of order at all. The talk page is long, and newcomers to the discussion may benefit from brief pointers to previous parts of the page. Shinealittlelight (talk) 21:37, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
I think shinealittlelight has the right idea. My feelings that instigated the comment about deletion are that its really no longer a conspiracy theory, (possibly a matter of Trump claiming erroneous details) and that label "conspiracy theory" continuing to be placed upon the idea that Trumps campain was under surveillance is being revealed to be untrue. Is there an article on the issue of actual spying/legitimate surveillance on the campaign? Perhaps a merge with that is in order? If not then improvement of this article might start with renaming it "surveillance of the trump campaign" because Trumps belief in it 2 years ago had some basis in reality, and it may have had legitimate law enforcement status so spygate might be inappropriate. We dont know that yet. In summary deletion is surely premature but as it stands the article is just wrong, appearing as a hit piece which ignores new facts with endless available sourcing.Batvette (talk) 23:48, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
I also had the thought of a separate article with a broader focus. But then I realized that some reliable sources use 'spygate' with exactly this broad meaning. Again, see my list in the above section, especially CNN: [38]. So I tend to think that this article is the one where all this material belongs, together with a disambiguation of the main uses of 'Spygate' in the reliable sources, including the way it is sometimes used for a totally unproven claim (e.g., the claim that a spy was a member of the Trump campaign). Shinealittlelight (talk) 00:06, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

There should be a broader article with any conspiracy theory aspect a subsection. But I have to inject, does Trump being in error at the time about some details make it conspiracy theory? At that time perhaps but with current breaking news I dont think so. 2 years ago his claims were greeted with cynical criticism. Now not so much. Can other editors see precedent in other historical events that reliable sources can be proven wrong in time? Or are they intent on preserving a past time when they could ridicule a President-like establishing the article as a time capsule, instead of moving on when more facts come to light? Batvette (talk) 00:25, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

What is this "current breaking news"? Sources please.Volunteer Marek (talk) 00:27, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
I'm hearing a lot of sound and fury here, but no reliable sources. What has changed? O3000 (talk) 00:28, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, sources that were once considered reliable can absolutely be proven wrong. But to prove them wrong you're going to have to find new reliable sources that contradict them directly without using inference or original research to fill in the gaps. I hate talking about "sides" of a Wikipedia dispute, but those new sources are what's been consistently missing from your "side" of the debate that's been raging on this page for the past few weeks. Present the sources--again, with no inference or original research filling in the gaps--and you will find me to be much more sympathetic. R2 (bleep) 15:45, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Very well put, R2. -- BullRangifer (talk) 22:13, 23 April 2019 (UTC)