Espionage and Sabotage
Every sophisticated politician recognizes that effective intelligence--usually meaning espionage--is essential to a successful campaign. It is of great value to know what the opposition is about to do. Sometimes, given early and accurate warning, a damaging blow can be forestalled completely or perhaps twisted to the rival's disadvantage. The converse is obvious: one's own operation needs to be protected from discovery and infiltration by the camp of the opposition. This means counterintelligence. But it is easier said than done.
Like military intelligence, the political variety revolves around much that is mundane and utterly boring. Endless review of print, video, and radio records of speeches, interviews, voting records, and news releases is an important element and usually is handled by researchers with the party committee, consultant, or other campaign organization. But this opposition- research staff must have a sharp eye for that occasional faint glimmer among all the dull detail that may prove to be a useful lead.
In the United States, the two national party committees have exchanged news releases for years, as a sort of professional courtesy. Each knows the other would be able to acquire each new handout shortly, and each benefits by saving the time and effort necessary to secure copies from other sources.
Only rarely do flesh-and-blood spies augment this unwritten exchange agreement. Even more rarely do such espionage capers by undercover agents come to light. One that did in 1964 unraveled almost before it got off the ground. A Reuters teletype operator, Louis Flax, was moonlighting at the Democratic National Committee, relaying plans and schedules to the Democrats' network around the country every night.