THE MATA HARI OF FIREARMS….Isn’t “Mary McFate” a great name for a spy? I think so. So it’s only fitting that Mary McFate is, indeed, a spy. For the NRA. For the last decade, it turns out, she’s been busily infiltrating gun control groups until being outed by a team of reporters at Mother Jones:

Informed of McFate’s true identity, her friends and associates in the gun control community expressed shock and anger. “That astounds me,” says Barbara Hohlt. Of McFate’s ability to maintain her cover, she adds, “She was very, very good. Everybody knew her for years and trusted her.” Brian Malte, director of state legislation at the Brady Campaign, says, “Oh my…Of all the people.” Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, remarks, “This is totally bizarre.” And she adds, “I would find it hardest to believe this about her. She comes across as kind of dense — or she’s putting on a good act.”

McFate’s (now former) colleagues note that she was well-positioned for many years to provide the NRA — or any other gun rights groups — the plans, secrets, and inside gossip of practically the entire gun violence prevention movement. “She had access to all the legislative strategy for every major issue for years,” says Rand.

Fascinating, no? The Sierra Club better watch its back.

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