Spies Like Us
Daniel J. Flynn
by

Whittaker Chambers stuffed purloined papers in a pumpkin. Reality Winner shoved them in her pantyhose.

Spies lack the style they once exuded.

The National Security Agency (NSA) contractor initially insisted that she had set fire to a copy of an intelligence report on Russian hacking of U.S. voter databases after printing the document. When pressed by investigators on how she truly absconded with the documents, Winner admitted reality: “Folded it in half in my pantyhose.”

She recalled her reasoning in releasing the report, “I don’t understand why this isn’t a thing.”

Sure, like, if self-marriage “sologamy” is a thing and “hepeating” is a thing and kneeling for the national anthem is totally a thing, then, you know, why can’t, um, classified documents be a thing, too?

Presumably, authorities who marked the report classified, regarded preventing the information from becoming a “thing” as important. The 25-year-old boasting months on the job who possessed no “need to know” regarding the documents thought otherwise. She overruled the judgment of older, wiser, more experienced hands directly employed by the NSA to make the classified report a “thing.”

What pushed the former Air Force enlisted woman over the edge?

Winner told investigators that “it’s just been hard at work.” How so? “I’ve filed formal complaints about them having Fox News on, you know? Uh, at least, for God’s sake, put Al Jazeera on, or a slideshow with people’s pets. I’ve tried anything to get that changed.”

How dare Americans working for the American government watch the cable network watched by Americans more than any other? Just think: If the NSA and its contractors watched Al Jazeera, then this would have never happened. On second thought, maybe it would always happen.

Chelsea Manning lip-synched to Lady Gaga while stealing state secrets. Reality Winner did so because her bosses refused to let her watch her favorite television shows at work. Rather than some deep expression of conscience, the flippant act displays a great shallowness. Our government entrusts silly people with serious matters. The controversy stands as more of an indictment of them than her.

Reality Winner, young, good looking, and in amazing shape, appears as someone you might prefer to let in your home than Whittaker Chambers, who mumbled his testimony through bad teeth and wore a rumpled suit that covered a bloated body — looking “as if he slept on a park bench the night before,” according to one former acquaintance — whose eyes darted there and here but never fixated on a conversation partner. Winner, in contrast, announced within earshot of Big Brother, “I’m going to play that card— being pretty, white, and cute, braid my hair, and cry and all.”

Is there any doubt for whom today’s juries would show more sympathy? After token time in the penitentiary, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, MSNBC, and Dancing with the Stars surely come calling.

Winner, like the society from which come her peers that ultimately judge her, screams superficiality. Her political views differ profoundly from those of her countrymen. But her penchant for posting her image on social media, fixation on her body, and outrage that others choose to watch television programs she does not wish to see convey a lack of depth, an immaturity, and an interest in surface and trivial matters. Even something as superficial as her name — Is she the love child of Richard Hatch and Susan Boyle? — announces her superficiality.

Whittaker Chambers translated Bambi into English from German, reviewed books for Time magazine, and authored one of the classic works of the 20th century in Witness. Reality Winner posts selfies bearing contrived facial expressions on Instagram, tweets such deep thoughts as “being white is terrorism,” and believes in Crossfit as fervently as Chambers once believed in Communism.

They don’t make turncoats like they used to. They still make spies like us.

Daniel J. Flynn
Daniel J. Flynn
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Daniel J. Flynn, a senior editor of The American Spectator, is the author of Cult City: Harvey Milk, Jim Jones, and 10 Days That Shook San Francisco (ISI Books, 2018), The War on Football (Regnery, 2013), Blue Collar Intellectuals (ISI Books, 2011), A Conservative History of the American Left (Crown Forum, 2008), Intellectual Morons (Crown Forum, 2004), and Why the Left Hates America (Prima Forum, 2002). His articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, New York Post, City Journal, National Review, and his own website, www.flynnfiles.com.   
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