We rarely have occasion to talk about moles and secret operatives, so what do you make of the case of Mary McFate, also known as Mary Lou Sapone, who allegedly infiltrated anti-gun groups as a spy for the pro-gun lobby?
There's been so much coverage of the story recently, it's hard to know which source article to reference. So I'm going with the investigative piece that broke the news in Mother Jones magazine on July 30 called, "There's Something About Mary: Unmasking a Gun Lobby Mole."
According to that report, Mary McFate began working with various gun control groups starting in the mid 1990's. She was involved with the Million Mom March, worked for the coalition group States United to Prevent Gun Violence, and collaborated with organizations such at the Brady Campaign, among many other initiatives. Such involvement gave her access to everything from legislative strategies and event planning to insider gossip.
While some gun control colleagues noticed that McFate would occasionally drop out of contact and frequently declined media appearances, she was widely regarded as a committed and passionate anti-gun activist.
However, according to the investigative report, during the time that McFate was increasing her involvement with the anti-gun movement, she was also Mary Lou Sapone, a "research consultant" hired by the pro-gun lobby. (Interestingly, in the 1980s, Sapone had "infiltrated the animal rights community" as an "operative" for a security firm.) Now gun control advocates are wondering who she reported to, and if she's the only "mole" among them.
As for McFate, she has been unreachable by the press, and ABC News reported last week that her Florida neighbors said she was on vacation in Belize.
How much attention have you paid to the case, and how much of the alleged spy activity do you believe? I find the whole affair as interesting as it is unnerving, and I'm very curious to see how it develops. -K.H.