I have more records than the KGB…Posted: July 30, 2008
I believe that this is the craziest shit I have read in my life:
This is the story of two Marys. Both are in their early 60s, heavyset, with curly reddish hair. But for years they have worked on opposite ends of the same issues. Mary McFate is an advocate of environmental causes and a prominent activist within the gun control movement. For more than a decade, she volunteered for various gun violence prevention organizations, serving on the boards of anti-gun outfits, helping state groups coordinate their activities, lobbying in Washington for gun control legislation, and regularly attending strategy and organizing meetings.
Mary Lou Sapone, by contrast, is a self-described “research consultant,” who for decades has covertly infiltrated citizens groups for private security firms hired by corporations that are targeted by activist campaigns. For some time, Sapone also worked for the National Rifle Association.
But these two Marys share a lot in common—a Mother Jones investigation has found that McFate and Sapone are, in fact, the same person. And this discovery has caused the leaders of gun violence prevention organizations to conclude that for years they have been penetrated—at the highest levels—by the NRA or other pro-gun parties. “It raises the question,” says Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, “of what did she find out and what did they want her to find out.”
During Sapone’s ascent through the ranks of the gun control movement, she worked for the NRA, according to a business associate. In a 2003 deposition, Tim Ward, who had been president of the Maryland-based security firm Beckett Brown International, said that the NRA had been “a client” of Sapone’s. (As a subcontractor for BBI, Sapone had planted an operative within an environmental group in Lake Charles, Louisiana.) According to Ward, at his request Sapone had introduced BBI to the NRA in early 1999. And that introduction quickly paid off. Billing records obtained by Mother Jones indicate that between May 1999 and April 2000, the NRA paid BBI nearly $80,000 for various services.
The NRA (and other gun advocates) have been spying, spying, on opposing interest groups. SPYING. Like low-stakes James Bond shit. Like in the Cold War.
I mean really:
[A] typical BBI intelligence-gathering operation would entail: “We used informants that we would send to public rallies that these people were holding, public demonstrations. These informants developed relationships where they could pick up a phone up and call in to find out where the next event was, where it was going to be held…They are usually very eager to have somebody come and tote banners and scream and shout.”
The CIA could learn a thing or two from these people…
I have always found the NRA to be a despicable organization. But really. This takes the cake. The whole fucking cake.
UPDATE: The official response from the Brady Campaign:
Reading the story, one imagines a group of executives over at NRA headquarters huddled around a copy of The Art of War with a flashlight in a dark basement office, hatching a new cloak-and-dagger plot.
Whatever the case, it’s clear that some over there have too much money and no moral compass.