Right-wing media outs U.S. intelligence asset in pursuit of bogus Trump conspiracy theory


Just as I predicted on Saturday, it did not take long for the conservative media entertainment complex to out the U.S. intelligence asset who was the “informant” who contacted members of the Trump campaign who were in engaged in suspicious contacts with the Russians.

It is a crime to reveal the identity of a classified intelligence asset. Scooter Libby was convicted for outing Valerie Plame as a CIA NOC.

This intelligence asset, his family, and his entire network of contacts are now in jeopardy, and any other intelligence projects he was working on have now been compromised as a direct result of President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress and the media seeking to out this “informant” in pursuit of their wild conspiracy theory in their efforts to discredit and to undermine the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation.

Axios.com has a good tick-tock of events that led to the outing of this FBI informant (revised):

Background on the FBI informant story:

  • Trump has been tweeting about an FBI “spy,” bolstered by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.
  • The Justice Department had been working with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to ensure the identity didn’t leak out.
  • The Daily Caller [founded by Tucker Carlson, a FOX News contributor, and Neil  Patel, a former adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney (who was involved in the outing of Valerie Plame)first reported the suspect’s name as Stefan Halper in March. The Washington Post and New York Times reported on the informant last week, providing multiple identifying details, but did not name the suspect.
  • NBC News reported last week that Halper met with Page and Papadopoulos, but said “no evidence has surfaced publicly indicating that Halper was acting as a government informant.”
  • [Rupert Murdoch’sWall Street Journal named Stefan Halper as the suspected informant on Sunday.
  • The [NewYork Times and] Washington Post reported last week that the suspected FBI informant has been a U.S. intelligence asset for years.
  • The suspected FBI informant first reached out to Trump campaign staffer George Papadopoulos in the summer of 2016, and subsequently met with Trump campaign officials Carter Page and Sam Clovis.
  • Halper, 73, is an academic and veteran of three Republican administrations. He worked at Cambridge University until 2015.

Now that the identity of this U.S. intelligence asset has criminally been revealed, the Washington Post reports today, Who is Stefan A. Halper, the FBI source who assisted the Russia investigation?

The Post had previously confirmed Stefan Halper’s identity but did not report his name following warnings from U.S. intelligence officials that exposing him could endanger him or his contacts. Now that he has been identified as the FBI’s informant by multiple news organizations, including the Wall Street Journal, New York magazine and Axios, The Post has decided to publish his name.

* * *

Stefan A. Halper, the FBI source who assisted the Russia investigation and is at the center of a standoff between congressional Republicans and the Justice Department, is a well-connected veteran of past GOP administrations who convened senior intelligence officials for seminars at the University of Cambridge in England.

In the summer and fall of 2016, Halper, then an emeritus professor at Cambridge, contacted three Trump campaign advisers for brief talks and meetings that largely centered on foreign policy, The Washington Post reported last week.

At some point that year, he began working as a secret informant for the FBI as it investigated Russia’s interference in the campaign, according to multiple people familiar with his activities.

* * *

Halper’s contacts with Trump advisers around the start of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation have come under scrutiny in recent weeks by House allies of President Trump. Late last month, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) issued a subpoena to the Justice Department requesting all documents related to the FBI informant.

In recent days, Trump has seized on the reports about Halper’s role in the Russia probe, suggesting in tweets that the FBI improperly spied on his campaign. There is no evidence to suggest Halper was inserted into the Trump campaign, but he did engage in a pattern of seeking out and meeting three Trump advisers [who has suspicious contacts with the Russians].

* * *
Halper’s connections to the intelligence world have been present throughout his career and at Cambridge, where he ran an intelligence seminar that brought together past and present intelligence officials.

In 2014, Halper, along with Richard Dearlove, the former head of Britain’s foreign intelligence service, sponsored a session of the seminar that drew Michael Flynn, then director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who would go on to serve as Trump’s first national security adviser.

Halper taught international affairs and American studies at Cambridge from 2001 until 2015, when he stepped down with the honorary title of emeritus senior fellow of the Centre of International Studies, according to a spokesman for the university.

Since 2012, Halper has had contracts with the Defense Department, working for a Pentagon think tank called the Office of Net Assessment. According to federal records, ONA has paid Halper more than $1 million for research and development in the social sciences and humanities.

The funds did not go solely to Halper, who hired other academics and experts to conduct research and prepare reports, according to U.S. government officials.“

He thinks well. He writes critically. And he knows a lot of people whose insights he can tap for us as well,” one U.S. government official said.

* * *

After earning his doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1971, Halper quickly ascended, serving on the White House domestic policy council for President Richard M. Nixon and then in the Office of Management and Budget before being tapped as an assistant to President Gerald Ford’s chief of staff. According to a document from Ford’s presidential library, part of Halper’s job was assessing domestic political candidates, such as Jimmy Carter, for high-ranking staffers in the West Wing.

Halper later worked for Sen. William Roth (R-Del.) before joining the George H.W. Bush campaign in 1980 as national policy development director and then working for the Reagan-Bush campaign as national director of policy coordination. In the Reagan administration, he served as deputy assistant secretary of state for politico-military affairs, according to his biography.

After the 1980 race, Halper was caught up in a scandal concerning alleged political spying. Aides to Reagan, including Halper, were accused of having spied on Carter’s campaign and obtaining private documents that Carter was using to prepare for a debate. Some Reagan White House officials later alleged that Halper had used former CIA agents to run an operation against Carter. Halper called the reports at the time “absolutely false” and has long denied the accusations.

Between 2000 and 2001, Halper contributed more than $85,000 to George W. Bush’s first presidential bid and the Republican National Committee, according to campaign finance records. Most friends describe him as a moderate Republican who is hawkish on China and deeply committed to U.S. institutions, having worked for years inside and around the federal government.

Late in his career, Halper emerged as a vocal critic of President George W. Bush’s interventionist foreign policy. During classes at Cambridge, he often raised questions about Bush’s decisions and embraced a traditional Republican approach to foreign policy that emphasized long-standing Western alliances and limited foreign intervention, as witnessed by a Post reporter who studied under Halper in 2009. A book he co-wrote with Jonathan Clarke, “America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order,” was critical of the Bush administration’s approach to the Iraq War.

Halper has spent considerable time focused on China over the past decade, publishing “The Beijing Consensus: Legitimizing Authoritarianism in our Time” in 2010 that warned of China’s attempts to build an economic and industrial presence in Africa and elsewhere as a threat to global stability.

“Stef” — as Halper is called by people who know him — was also widely known at Cambridge as a gregarious gatherer of students and academics at his apartment in the city, along with his wife. He frequently hosted dinners with visiting students and scholars from around the world where — over wine and cheese from the local market — he would share colorful stories about his work for American presidents and the U.S. government and stir debates about the issues of the day.

What this reveals is that Trump’s right-wing conspiracy theory that the FBI Had an ‘Embedded Informant’ in His 2016 Campaign is total nonsense and entirely bogus.

In pursuit of this right-wing conspiracy theory, Trump and his allies have now outed a U.S. intelligence asset, putting him, his family, and his entire network of contacts in jeopardy, and any other intelligence projects he was working on have now been compromised.

Those responsible for this crime need to be prosecuted.