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Ex-FBI Official Who Helped Launch Crossfire Hurricane Charged With Laundry List Of Crimes


BY: MARGOT CLEVELAND | JANUARY 24, 2023

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2023/01/24/ex-fbi-official-who-helped-launch-crossfire-hurricane-charged-with-laundry-list-of-crimes/

Oleg Deripaska at WEF
Monday’s news is a body blow to the FBI, which already has two black eyes from the last seven years of scandals.

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The Department of Justice unsealed twin indictments on Monday against Charles McGonigal, a former FBI section chief involved in the decision to launch the Crossfire Hurricane investigation against then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Here are six takeaways from yesterday’s news.

1. McGonigal Charged with Conspiring with Russian Interpreter to Launder Money — and More.

Monday morning brought breaking news that the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York had unsealed a five-count indictment that charged McGonigal and Sergey Shestakov with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, or IEEPA, and with conspiring to launder money. Prosecutors also charged Shestakov with lying to the FBI. 

McGonigal, as the indictment explained, was previously a “senior official” in the FBI, having been employed by the bureau from 1996 to 2018, and working in Russian counterintelligence, organized crime matters, and counter-espionage. From 2016 until his retirement in 2018, McGonigal was the special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division of the FBI’s New York Field Office, a role in which he supervised and investigated Russian oligarchs, according to the indictment.

Shestakov, for his part, is described as a “former Soviet and Russian diplomat,” who was in that role from 1979 until his retirement in 1993. The press release announcing the charges notes that Shestakov is now a U.S. citizen, and he has “more recently served as an interpreter for United States federal courts and prosecutors.”

The indictment charged that McGonigal and Shestakov violated the sanctions imposed by the United States on Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch, in violation of the IEEPA. Specifically, the indictment alleged the duo, in or about 2021, “agreed to and did investigate a rival oligarch of Deripaska in return for concealed payment from Deripaska.” 

According to Monday’s press release, McGonigal and Shestakov negotiated with a representative of Deripaska, identified as Agent-1 in the indictment, “to conceal Deripaska’s involvement” in the relationship “by, among other means, not directly naming Deripaska in electronic communications,” using instead various nicknames, such as “the big guy.” McGonigal, Shestakov, and Deripaska also allegedly used “shell companies,” to hide the payments coming from Deripaska.

McGonigal allegedly first met Deripaska’s representative, Agent-1, while still employed by the FBI, but then in the spring of 2021, after McGonigal had retired from the bureau, he was allegedly solicited to work directly for Deripaska. Specifically, the indictment charged that Deripaska hired McGonigal to investigate a second Russian oligarch with whom Deripaska had an ongoing dispute over control of a Russian corporation. In exchange, Deripaska allegedly agreed to pay the partners $51,280, followed by monthly payments of $41,790, although the payments were made to a New Jersey corporation, which then transferred the funds to McGonigal and Shestakov. 

The activities among McGonigal, Shestakov, and Deripaska’s intermediaries “largely” ceased, according to the indictment, upon the FBI executing search warrants and seizing McGonigal and Shestakov’s electronic devices on Nov. 21, 2021. Shortly before the FBI executed the search warrant, Shestakov allegedly lied to the FBI about his relationship with McGonigal, which formed the basis of the false statement charge against Shestakov.

2. McGonigal Is in More McTrouble

If the indictment in the Southern District of New York were not enough to shake McGonigal’s world, an hour later the Department of Justice released a second press release announcing the unsealing of a second indictment in the District of Columbia. This indictment charged McGonigal with making multiple false statements, concealing material facts, and falsifying records or documents — nine counts in total.

Underlying the nine criminal counts were allegations that McGonigal failed to accurately complete financial disclosure reports, which McGonigal was required to do on an annual basis, and failed to accurately report unofficial foreign travel and ongoing professional or official contracts with foreign nationals. 

The accusations are related to McGonigal’s alleged failure to accurately report his financial situation, connections with foreign nationals, and his relationship with several unnamed individuals. Those individuals are identified as Persons A, B, C, and D, with McGonigal receiving large cash payments in exchange for what appear to be questionable “favors.”

For instance, the indictment described Person A as a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Albania and who had previously worked for the Albanian intelligence agency. It then alleged McGonigal “hid aspects of his relationship with Person A,” including “that he had accepted more than $225,000 from Person A, had traveled to Europe with Person A, and met numerous foreign nationals through Person A.” 

It was McGonigal, according to the indictment, who approached Person A with the money-making scheme, when “no later than August, 2017,” he “inquired as to whether Person A could provide money to him.” Then on Sept. 7, 2017, Person A allegedly indicated he “was working on the money.” Thereafter, McGonigal traveled with Person A to Albania where he allegedly lobbied the Albanian prime minister on behalf of Person A. 

Over the next several months, McGonigal allegedly received three cash payments from Person A, ranging from approximately $65,000 to $80,000 each time. The indictment further charged that “McGonigal caused the FBI-NY to open a criminal investigation of a U.S. citizen in which Person A would serve as a confidential human source.” 

Specifically, on Nov. 25, 2017, McGonigal allegedly informed a federal prosecutor of “a potential new criminal investigation involving a U.S. citizen who had registered to perform lobbying work in the United States on behalf of an Albanian political party different from the one in which the Prime Minister was a member.” Then on Feb. 26, 2018, the FBI office “formally opened a criminal investigation focused on the ‘U.S. citizen lobbyist’ at defendant McGonigal’s request and upon his guidance.” 

The indictment suggests McGonigal opened the investigation into “the U.S. citizen lobbyist” to further his monetary relationship with Person A and others, with the allegations stressing that McGonigal remained in communication with the prime minister after Person A arranged for them to meet in September of 2017. Person A and Person B, the latter identified in the indictment as a former senior Albanian government official and informal adviser to the Albanian prime minister, both then assisted the FBI in the investigation of “the U.S. citizen lobbyist.” 

Elsewhere, the indictment charged that McGonigal attempted to arrange a meeting with Persons C and D and U.S. government authorities to benefit from the unnamed Person A. Among other things, the indictment claimed that McGonigal proposed Person D pay Person A’s company $500,000 in exchange for the scheduling of a meeting with a representative from the U.S. delegation to the United Nations. McGonigal then worked to coordinate the meeting, according to the charges.

3. The Shockwaves of This Latest FBI Scandal Hit Spygate

The two indictments alone represent another huge scandal to the FBI: McGonigal was no low-level agent but rather a special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division for the New York Field Office. And although McGonigal retired in 2018, some of his allegedly criminal conduct took place while still in that position and allegedly involved the launching of an investigation of a U.S. citizen who was lobbying for a political opponent of one of McGonigal’s foreign contacts.

In isolation, yesterday’s news is a body blow to the bureau, which already has two black eyes from the last seven years of scandals. But the New York indictment of McGonigal reverberates more directly to the SpyGate scandal and specifically the failure of the DOJ to pursue Christopher Steele for his own work for Deripaska.

The inspector general’s report on FISA abuse concluded that “Steele performed work for Russian Oligarch 1’s attorney on Russian Oligarch 1’s litigation matters,” with Deripaska the generically named “Oligarch 1.” Steele, the OIG report continued, “passed information to Department attorney Bruce Ohr advocating on behalf of one of Russian Oligarch 1’s companies regarding U.S. sanctions.” The report further found that Ohr and Steele’s communications concerning Deripaska occurred “in 2016 during the time period before and after Steele was terminated as a [confidential human source].”

Additionally, the OIG report connected that “Ohr said that he understood Steele was ‘angling’ for Ohr to assist him with his clients’ issues,” and that “Ohr stated that Steele was hoping that Ohr would intercede on his behalf with the Department attorney handling a matter involving a European company.”

Steele had reportedly also previously worked for Deripaska’s London-based attorney Paul Hauser, and Steele “appeared to lobby on behalf of Deripaska through a D.C.-based attorney, Adam Waldman.” Steele, however, never registered as a lobbyist under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, or “FARA.”

Yet Steele has never been charged with violating FARA. Why?

While this question has been asked again and again, the federal charges against McGonigal for his work on Deripaska’s behalf bring this question to the forefront again. 

4. Speaking of Deripaska, There’s Another SpyGate Scandal Unresolved

The raising of Deripaska’s name in yesterday’s indictment also offers the chance to revisit another SpyGate scandal yet unresolved — a lesser noticed one buried in the hundreds of pages of the inspector general’s report on FISA abuse.

As I previously detailed, the IG report noted that on Dec. 7, 2016, Bruce Ohr called an interagency meeting to discuss Deripaska. During that meeting, Ohr apparently suggested trying to work with Deripaska, and later told a subordinate that the basis for the suggestion was that “Steele provided information that the Trump campaign had been corrupted by the Russians,” and that the corruption went all the way to President-elect Trump. So Ohr apparently suggested cutting a deal with a Russian oligarch based on the fake Steele dossier. 

It also appears that agents considered cutting a deal with Deripaska to possibly ensnare Paul Manafort, with the end goal being to take down Trump — another startling possibility that would reveal our FBI viewing Trump as worse than the Russian oligarch.

To date, little has been explored of possible efforts by the DOJ or FBI to go easy on Deripaska for the great goal of getting Trump. But maybe the renewed focus on Deripaska will resurrect these overlooked details.

5. McGonigal’s Role in Crossfire Hurricane Raises Huge Red Flags

The charges against McGonigal also raise concerns about his role in the decision to launch Crossfire Hurricane. 

In his congressional testimony, FBI Agent Jonathan Moffa testified that from July 28 to July 31 of 2016, officials in FBI headquarters discussed whether to open a counterintelligence investigation on Trump, purportedly based on information provided by a “friendly foreign government.” That information consisted of an Australian diplomat telling his American counterpart that Trump’s volunteer campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had suggested the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. In explaining how he had learned of the discussions over whether to open the investigation that became known as Crossfire Hurricane, Moffa testified he had received an email from McGonigal, the then-section chief in FBI headquarters, that contained the reporting from the friendly foreign government. 

After McGonigal helped decide to launch the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into the Trump campaign, FBI Director James Comey named him “the special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division for the New York Field Office” in October of 2016. In that position, McGonigal stayed engaged in aspects of the investigation, with his “team” questioning Carter Page in March of 2017. McGonigal would later also express concerns about the Page FISA leaking after a briefing to the House Intel Committee, and sure enough, a few weeks later the story leaked.

Given that if the allegations in the indictments are true, McGonigal has proven himself willing to be bought, his involvement in Crossfire Hurricane is extremely troubling. 

6. A New Life for Durham

While McGonigal’s involvement in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation raises serious concerns, it also provides one final chance to learn the depth of the SpyGate scandal. With McGonigal facing serious federal criminal charges in two different districts, the incentive for him to seek a deal with the government is high. Given his involvement in the decision to launch Crossfire Hurricane and his later involvement in at least portions of the investigation, he may just have something to offer Special Counsel John Durham.

And McGonigal may have just the attorney to cut that deal: Seth DuCharme. DuCharme is listed as McGonigal’s attorney of record in court filings, and emails released pursuant to FOIA requests show DuCharme previously worked for Durham.

Whether McGonigal has anything of value to Durham, however, remains to be seen.


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

Judge In Stefan Halper Case Drops SpyGate Bombshell: Halper Likely Lied To The FBI On Purpose


BY: MARGOT CLEVELAND | JULY 20, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/07/20/judge-in-stefan-halper-case-drops-spygate-bombshell-in-denying-his-motion-to-dismiss-halper-likely-lied-to-the-fbi-on-purpose/

Stefan Halper

‘There are now a fair number of documentations’ showing that Stefan Halper ‘may have made clear misstatements to the FBI,’ the court said.

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Documents suggest that Stefan Halper “may have made clear misstatements to the FBI” and may be responsible for “some falsehoods” about Michael Flynn and Svetlana Lokhova, according to the federal judge presiding over the lawsuit Lokhova filed against the former FBI confidential human source, or “CHS,” embroiled in the SpyGate scandal. 

On Friday, a federal court in Virginia denied Halper’s Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit Lokhova had filed against him in December of 2020. That lawsuit represented Lokhova’s second civil case against Halper, with her alleging in her most recent complaint that when Halper learned she was penning a book about Halper, “he directed his counsel, Terry Reed, to contact Post Hill Press and Simon & Schuster solely for the purposes of ‘quash[ing] publication and cancel[ing] the Book Contract.’” Reed then allegedly “contacted [Simon & Schuster] and [Post Hill Press] and falsely accused [them] of defaming Halper in the marketing materials.” 

The complaint further alleged that, through the letters, Halper “defamed and disparaged” Lokhova to the publishers and falsely accused her of “knowingly publishing” statements that were “false.” Lokhova claimed that Halper then “escalated the threats and intimidation to [Simon & Schuster’s] parent company, CBS Corporation.” The complaint alleged his accusations were untrue and that “[t]he sole purpose of Halper’s actions was to interfere with [Lokhova’s] Book Contract and induce [Post Hill Press] to terminate the Contract,” which it ultimately did after facing irresistible pressure from Simon & Schuster.

The “book contract” Halper allegedly succeeded in canceling was for Lokhova’s forthcoming nonfiction work entitled, “The Spider: Stefan A. Halper and the Dark Web of a Coup.” The marketing material for the book described Halper as a “spy, an evil spider at work within and around the Trump campaign,” and that in that capacity, he “initially targeted the important Trump advisor, Lt. General Michael Flynn.”

In promoting the book, the publisher, Post Hill Press, in conjunction with Simon & Schuster, which Post Hill Press had contracted to market and distribute “The Spider,” also asserted Lokhova’s book revealed that Halper had “fabricated and sustained the fantastical narrative of the Russian hoax,” and that he did so by “collaborat[ing] with the intelligence establishment to take the ‘kill shot on Flynn,’ leaking classified information to his associates in the press.”

Lokhova explained her motivation for writing the book in the amended complaint she filed in the Virginia federal court. “In February 2017, a month after the birth of her first child,” the document read, Lokhova “was inundated by the media and others over false allegations that had suddenly surfaced that she had supposedly conducted a clandestine romantic affair with General Michael Flynn, an American military and intelligence official whom she had met once at an academic dinner over two years earlier and had never seen or spoken to again.” Lokhova explained how she then spent the next two-plus years, “piecing together what had happened to her, partly through her own research, partly through the gradual release of information by the United States government, and partly through reporting by U.S. media outlets.”

According to Lokhova’s amended complaint, by late 2019 she “had gathered sufficient information and evidence to demonstrate how the false allegations about her and General Flynn had arisen, and who had conveyed them to the FBI and to the media.” Lokhova explained that after obtaining a book contract and American publishers, she set to work to write the book, with a planned 2020 release date. But according to Lokhova, her publisher canceled her contract after Halper threatened her publisher, the distributor, and even CBS Corporation. Lokhova then self-published the book, renaming it “Spygate Exposed: The Conspiracy to Topple President Trump.”

After Lokhova released “Spygate Exposed,” an FBI “Electronic Communication,” dated August 15, 2016, was declassified in early 2021. That document memorialized information provided to the FBI by an unnamed CHS on August 11, 2016. While the electronic communication did not identify Halper as the CHS, it documented several claimed interactions the CHS had with Trump campaign advisers. Those advisers would all later identify Halper as the individual with whom they had spoken, making clear that Halper was the unidentified CHS.

Significantly, in his August 11, 2016, conversation with the FBI, Halper “relayed an incident s/he witnessed when CROSSFIRE RAZOR (CR) spoke at” an event that was redacted in the document. CROSSFIRE RAZOR was the codename for Flynn.

According to Halper, while he was unsure of the date of the event at which Flynn spoke, he remembered that at the time, Flynn still held his position in the U.S. Intelligence Community. Halper told the FBI that after Flynn spoke and socialized with various individuals (whose names were redacted) at dinner and over drinks, Flynn got into a cab to go to the train station to catch a train to London. “The CHS stated that a woman, SVETLANA LOKHOVA, surprised everyone and got into [Flynn’s] cab and joined [Flynn] on the train ride to London.” Halper further “recalled that LOKHOVA ‘latched’ onto Flynn when he was at the [dinner.].” 

The electronic communication further documented Halper saying he was “somewhat suspicious of LOKHOVA,” and that he “believes that LOKHOVA’S father may be a Russian Oligarch living in London.” That portion of the report ended by noting that Halper “could not provide further information on [Flynn] and LOKHOVA’S trip.”

An electronic communication memorializing the FBI’s interview with Halper the following day, on August 12, 2016, recorded Halper providing more texture to the supposed Flynn-Lokhova rendezvous. Specifically, Halper clarified to the team where Lokhova supposedly got into the cab with Flynn before joining him on the train to London. 

False Claims

Contrary to Halper’s claims to the FBI, however, he did not attend the February 2014 Cambridge dinner at which Flynn, then-President Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, spoke and at which Lokhova, then a graduate student at Cambridge, attended. Nor did Lokhova leave the dinner with Flynn; she also did not jump into a cab with him and did not accompany him to London on the train. 

Nonetheless, according to Lokhova’s amended complaint, Halper repeated his false allegations about her and “General Flynn to various members of the media who, upon information and belief, include, among others, journalists working for the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.” In turn, Lokhova alleged, “[M]any commentators, from national television hosts to ordinary citizens on social media, credited the false allegations that Plaintiff was a Russian spy who had ensnared General Flynn in a sexual or romantic imbroglio at the behest of the Kremlin.”

Halper’s claims to the FBI, Lokhova added, were also “a key reason why the FBI opened a subpart of [the Crossfire Hurricane] investigation that specifically focused on General Flynn,” with the FBI opening the separate investigation into Flynn just “one working day after Halper’s meeting at the FBI.”

In her lawsuit against Halper, Lokhova seeks recovery for the alleged false statements of fact he made to Post Hill Press and Simon & Schuster, namely that Halper falsely told the publisher and distributor of her proposed book that she had defamed him. Lokhova also seeks damages from Halper for tortiously interfering with her book contract. With Judge Leonie Brinkema denying Halper’s motion to dismiss Lokhova’s lawsuit on Friday, the historian and author now has an opportunity to obtain justice from Halper for his alleged defamatory statements.

Even Bigger Problems

But beyond vindicating her own interests, Lokhova’s lawsuit against Halper also provides a reminder of the problems the Crossfire Hurricane and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team had with the confidential human sources who supposedly aided their investigation into Trump’s purported collusion with Russia.

From the FBI’s electronic communication summary, it appears that Halper, who reportedly served as a confidential human source for the FBI from 2008 until his presumptive termination following his involvement in the targeting of Trump and the Trump campaign, lied to the FBI about Lokhova and Flynn and then repeated those lies to various members of the media. According to Lokhova, Halper did not even attend the event at which he claimed he “witnessed” her “latch” onto Flynn. And since she did not leave the event with Flynn and did not jump into a cab with him — much less journey to London with him — Halper’s claims to the FBI were not merely false, but knowingly so. 

The federal judge hearing Halper’s Motion to Dismiss on Friday concluded that the documents could reasonably support that conclusion. “There are now a fair number of documentations that do, in fact, link your client to being this source, and more specific information that the description about the meeting in England with Mr. Flynn that this witness that Mr. Halper was, in fact, not present and therefore may have made clear misstatements to the FBI,” the court noted. At the early stage of the court proceedings, there “would seem to be enough to suggest that there may, in fact, be some falsehoods going on here on your client’s behalf,” Judge Brinkema said to Halper’s attorney.

Halper’s apparent lies about Flynn and Lokhova render his other CHS reporting suspect as well. And that other “reporting” was widespread, with Halper also serving as a CHS in questioning former Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. Halper also wore a wire when he questioned Trump’s then co-campaign chair, Sam Clovis, on behalf of the FBI. 

In fact, it appears Halper also misrepresented his interactions with Page during his August 11, 2016, interview with the FBI. The electronic communication summary of that debriefing stated that Halper “explained to the team that s/he had a private meeting with [Carter Page] on or about 7/18/2018.” Halper told the team, the document continued, “that the purpose of the meeting was to ask the CHS if s/he would want to join the Trump campaign as a foreign policy adviser.” 

However, in an exclusive interview with The Federalist in 2020 — which followed the Inspector General’s release of its report on FISA abuse but preceded the declassification of the electronic communication summary of Halper’s conversations with the FBI — Page stated unequivocally that he never asked Halper “to be a foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign.” And though “it is possible, Page acknowledged, that they explored some ways Halper might get involved indirectly at some point down the road,” it is “an extraordinary mischaracterization,” to say that he had asked Halper “to be a foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign.”

Not only did Halper apparently mischaracterize his conversation with Page to the FBI, but it was also Halper and not the FBI who raised Page as a potential tasking for the former CHS. According to the case agent, “[T]he plan going into the meeting was to talk generally with [Halper] about Russian ‘interference in the election, what [Halper] may know, and … to bring up Papadopoulos.’” The FBI made no mention of Page and intended to task Halper solely with “‘reaching out to Papadopoulos which would allow the Crossfire Hurricane team to collect assessment information on Papadopoulos and potentially conduct an operation,’ when Halper inquired about whether the FBI also had an interest in Page.”

The Inspector General’s report on FISA abuse related to Page would later note that Halper’s handling agent found it “serendipitous” that Halper “had contacts with three of their four subjects, including Carter Page.” They “couldn’t believe [their] luck,” the handling agent noted, upon learning that Halper knew Flynn and Paul Manafort, and had crossed paths with Page just weeks before.

These facts, the seeming lies Halper told the FBI about Lokhova, and his apparent “extraordinary mischaracterization” of his discussions with Page leave one to wonder who was handling whom — and whether Special Counsel John Durham will ever answer that question.


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

Stefan Halper Was Just Another Hack Who Helped Peddle the Russia-Collusion Hoax


REPORTED BY: MARGOT CLEVELAND | MARCH 21, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/03/21/stefan-halper-was-just-another-hack-who-helped-peddle-the-russia-collusion-hoax/

Stefan Halper on the Bill Walton show

Nearly six years have passed since Hillary Clinton and her cronies launched their plot to frame Donald Trump as a co-conspirator of Russia to distract Americans from Clinton’s scandals. Since then, by bits and pieces, the public has learned of Clinton’s role in peddling the Russia collusion hoax to both the press and intelligence agencies. While there is still much to uncover, a recent exposé of the man the FBI tapped as the key Confidential Human Source (CHS) in investigating the Trump campaign confirmed Spygate’s method of operation: creating mythical men on whose deceitful shoulders the media and the FBI then stood.

While Stefan Halper’s name and the monikers used to identify him in government reports—“Source 2,” or merely “CHS”—appeared regularly in reporting unraveling the Russia collusion hoax, only lately did Halper’s history undergo a thorough vetting. In a recent article, Real Clear Investigations’ Mark Hemingway traced Halper’s history through archived documents and interviews with associates. He uncovered two themes girding Halper’s parallel careers of government informant and Cambridge academic.

Stefan Halper’s Recipe for Success

From his earliest days in government until his retreat from Cambridge University following his outing as a player in the Russian collusion hoax, Halper advanced his professional persona, decade upon decade, by taking creative license with his credentials and exploiting his connections. Puffery appeared in both Halper’s public biography and resumes reviewed by Real Clear Investigations, leaving unanswered the question of whether Halper ever obtained the Ph.D. he claimed later allowed him to reinvent himself as an academic at Cambridge. Before then, Halper appeared to muddle through a variety of low-level jobs in the federal government, until the mid-1970s. That’s when Halper’s career received a boost when he married Sibyl Cline, the daughter of the well-respected Ray S. Cline.

The senior Cline, who held top intelligence positions with the federal government since the second world war, reportedly arranged for the Ronald Reagan State Department to hire Halper. During the Reagan administration, Halper became close to, among others, Oliver North, but after the Iran-Contra scandal and some time in banking and D.C. think tanks, Halper transitioned to academia. He became a professor at Cambridge University in 2001, where three years later he would claim a second Ph.D.

In addition to the political and other connections Halper accumulated during his 30 years in the D.C. bubble, once at Cambridge, Halper expanded his network across the Atlantic. Halper became cozy with three other characters who later played roles—some prominent—in the Russia collusion hoax. These included Richard Dearlove, the former chief of the British intelligence service MI6; Christopher Andrew, the official historian for the domestic intelligence agency, MI5; and Christopher Steele, who worked under Dearlove at MI6.

Highly Useful Connections

While at Cambridge, the reinvented Halper leveraged his professorship, profiting to the tune of nearly $1 million by writing research papers of questionable worth for the U.S. Department of Defense. Halper added to his wallet by serving as a CHS for the FBI from 2008 until January 2011, when the FBI dropped him for aggressiveness toward a handling agent over a fee dispute. Two months later, the FBI reopened Halper as a CHS, giving him a stern warning that this was his last opportunity with the bureau.

Beyond these money-making ventures that kept Halper connected with players at the DOD and FBI, the academic apparently stayed close to elite members of the American media, including David Ignatius, the foreign affairs columnist for The Washington Post. According to Steven Schrage, who completed his Cambridge Ph.D. under Halper’s supervision, “Halper knew Ignatius for decades” and “bragged’ that “Ignatius was his press contact.”

Another Cambridge student, the Russian-born U.K. historian Svetlana Lokhova who was later sold as a Russian “honey pot,” likewise connected Halper to Ignatius. Lokhova told The Federalist that in May 2018, shortly after Halper was outed as a CIA and FBI informant, she spoke with Ignatius, and when she “registered surprise about Halper’s role” as a CHS, that prompted Ignatius to say he “always found Halper reliable as a source.”

These connections all later proved key to advancing the Russia collusion hoax, but it was Halper’s role as a Cambridge academic that cemented his insertion into the scandal. As a faculty member at the British university, Halper participated in seminars and conferences, including the mid-July 2016 Cambridge University conference at which Halper first met then-Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.

Enter: 2016 Campaign

While initially Halper seemed uninterested in the young Trump advisor, that suddenly changed after Dearlove arrived at the conference and spoke privately with Halper. According to the conference organizer, Halper suddenly “seemed desperately interested in isolating, cornering, and ingratiating himself to Page and promoting him­­­self to the Trump campaign.”

Hillary Clinton surrogate Madeline Albright also attended the conference, serving as a keynote speaker. While there, Albright attended a small, private dinner with Halper. Then, just days after the Cambridge conference ended, Albright proclaimed that “Vladimir Putin wants Donald Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton.” The Clinton booster added that “Russia was likely behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s emails.”

That Albright began peddling the Russia collusion hoax in late July 2016, not long after leaving Halper’s side, seems suspect given that earlier that month Halper had forecast a similar approach to defeating Trump during a Cambridge lecture series on “the phenomenon which is ‘Trump’s maverick candidacy.’” At the time, Halper told his audience that “the deficits in Clinton’s campaign” left the election “almost too close to call.” “If the media focuses on Clinton, she will lose, whereas if they continue to focus on Trump, he will lose,” Halper predicted.

Worming Into Trump Campaign Connections

Two weeks later, the FBI launched the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into the Trump campaign. Soon after that, Halper’s long-time handler, Stephen Somma, visited Halper at his home to request his assistance. According to Somma, he proposed meeting with Halper because Halper “had been affiliated with national political campaigns since the early 1970s,” while Somma “lacked a basic understanding of simple issues, for example what the role of a ‘foreign policy advisor’ entails.”

During Somma’s August 11, 2016, visit with Halper, the FBI handler asked Halper whether he knew George Papadopoulos, who then was serving as a Trump campaign advisor. Halper didn’t, but agreed to speak with Papadopoulos.

Halper then volunteered that he knew a second foreign policy advisor, Page, and asked whether Somma and his team had any interest in Page. Halper also told Somma he “had known Trump’s then campaign manager, [Paul] Manafort, for a number of years and that he had been previously acquainted with Michael Flynn.”

Halper’s claim to know Flynn proved another unsupported boast. He nonetheless told Somma and the other members of the Crossfire Hurricane team of an “incident” he supposedly witnessed at Cambridge involving Flynn. According to Halper, after Flynn spoke to a small group over dinner and drinks at Cambridge, another attendee, the Russian-born Svetlana Lokhova, “surprised everyone” and jumped in Flynn’s cab, then left with Flynn to London. Halper added that he was “suspicious of Lokhova” because of her Russian connections. However, contrary to Halper’s tale, Flynn had never met Halper and Halper had not attended the Cambridge gathering at which both Flynn and Lokhova were guests. Halper’s claim that Lokhova left with Flynn also proved false. Nonetheless, press reports later repeated the story and suggested Flynn had been compromised by the unnamed Russian student. Lokhova would later sue Halper for defamation, pinning him as the source of the false reports.

Somma and others, however, seemed unaware of Halper’s fabrication. They couldn’t believe their luck that Halper supposedly knew three of the four subjects of Crossfire Hurricane. So, over the ensuing weeks, Halper would wear a wire and question Papadopoulos, Page, and even the co-chair of the Trump campaign, Sam Clovis.

Fabricating an Excuse to Spy on Trump’s Campaign

That Halper could arrange a meeting with one of Trump’s top campaign officials mere months before the November election is a testament to Halper’s 50 years of political schmoozing and ladder climbing—further confirmed when Clovis proceeded to have an unguarded hour-long chat with Halper discussing details about Trump’s strategy to defeat Hillary.

Halper came away from these meetings with nothing of import to the investigation into Trump’s supposed collusion with Russia. Nonetheless, the FBI referenced Halper and portions of his wired conversations with Page in the four FISA applications that resulted in the FBI illegally surveilling Page. Omitted from the FISA applications, however, were comments Page made to Halper that conflicted with portions of the Steele dossier.

While the FBI used only minor details acquired by Halper in the FISA applications, Halper’s cross-continental connections with the intelligence communities, political players, and the press, likely advanced the Russia collusion hoax in ways still fully unknown. This likelihood seems strong when one considers how, when the Spygate scandal began to unravel, the same media that had peddled the Russia collusion hoax began a public relations campaign for the players behind the plot, including Halper.

Running Cover for Spies

At first, the press presented the unidentified Halper as “an American academic” and as “an informant” or “source” whose anonymity had to be preserved to safeguard him. To bolster his credentials, the reporting stressed Halper’s position as a professor, highlighted his longtime work for both the FBI and CIA, and cast him as an informant who “aided the Russia investigation both before and after special counsel Robert S. Mueller III‘s appointment.” Then, in a transparent attempt to paint the still-unnamed Halper as a selflessness patriot, the media focused on the “great risks” informants take “when working for intelligence services.”

After he was outed, the Russia-hoax team continued to highlight Halper’s position as a “Cambridge professor” and long-time CHS to preserve the myth of a respected academic and dedicated and reliable informant. The Washington Post ran a puff piece on Halper soon after his name became public, telling its audience “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.”

The Post continued its gushing profile by highlighting Halper’s collaboration with Dearlove, the former head of Britain’s foreign intelligence service, and their sponsorship of a “seminar that drew Michael Flynn, then director of the Defense Intelligence Agency,” to attend. Also stressed was Halper’s academic work, with the Post noting that Halper had 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, . . .”

The remainder of the article then unquestioningly parroted much of Halper’s resume, before quoting an unnamed U.S. government official saying of Halper: “He thinks well. He writes critically. And he knows a lot of people whose insights he can tap for us as well.”

However, as Real Clear Investigations revealed in its exposé on Halper, he held neither the academic cachet nor the gravitas a seasoned informant might. But what Halper lacked in pedigree, he compensated for with his arsenal of connections that allowed him to whisper into the right ears just what the listener wanted to hear.

In this respect, Halper proves no different than Steele or Rodney Joffe: They are all mythical men, molded by the Clinton campaign, the media, and those complicit in the government to sell the tale of Trump colluding with Russia. In reality, though, they aren’t the James Bond, Jack Ryan, and Jason Bourne that we were sold—they are the Three Stooges with better agents.


Margot Cleveland is a senior contributor to The Federalist. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

Clinesmith, In Order to Save Himself, Has Implicated Others on Crossfire Hurricane — Who Ultimately Hid the Exculpatory Info From the FISA Court?


Reported By Cristina Laila | Published August 14, 2020 at 2:31pm

Former FBI Attorney Kevin Clinesmith is expected to plead guilty to altering Carter Page evidence to support the FISA warrant used to spy on the Donald Trump campaign in 2016. However, Clinesmith, in order to save himself, implicated others on Crossfire Hurricane.

38-year-old Clinemsith altered an email from CIA investigators used to request a FISA warrant and renewals on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. Carter Page previously worked as a source for the CIA, however Clinesmith falsely said Page was “never” a CIA source.

According to Durham’s charging document (and also in IG Horowitz’s report), “certain individuals” on the Crossfire Hurricane were told in an August 2016 memorandum that Page was a CIA asset — so who else knew? Despite members of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team knowing Carter Page was a CIA asset, that information was omitted from the first three FISA warrants on Page.

“Mr. Clinesmith had provided the unchanged C.I.A. email to Crossfire Hurricane agents and the Justice Department lawyer drafting the original [October 2016] wiretap application,” Techno Fog posted from the New York Times report.

So who else knew about the lies?

So who, ultimately, hid the exculpatory information from the FISA court?

According to the Associated Press, Clinesmith will be charged in a DC court with one count of making a false statement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

BREAKING: DOJ Declassifies 3 Footnotes From Horowitz’s Report Revealing FBI Assessed Steele Dossier Was ‘Russian Disinformation’ – Used it Anyway


Reported By Cristina Laila | Published April 10, 2020 at 4:33pm

CBS News reporter Catherine Herridge obtained an April 2 letter responding to Senators Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley over four key footnotes in IG Horowitz’s report.

The Senators stated that the classified footnotes contradict what is publicly available in Horowitz’s report related to Crossfire Hurricane, the CI investigation opened into Trump’s campaign in July of 2016.

Grassley and Johnson wrote, “The American people have a right to know what is contained within these four footnotes and, without that knowledge, they will not have a full picture as to what happened during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”

The DOJ declassified 3 footnotes with minimal redactions and kept the fourth footnote completely blacked out citing, “unique and significant concerns. The redacted information refers to information received by a member of the Crossfire Hurricane team regarding possible previous attempts by a foreign government to penetrate and research a company or individuals associated with Christopher Steele,” Herridge reported.

One declassified footnote revealed Comey’s FBI knew the Hillary Clinton-funded dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele was bogus Russian disinformation — but they used it anyway to spy on Trump’s campaign.

“The (redacted) stated that it did not have high confidence in this subset of Steele’s reporting and ASSESSED that the referenced subset was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate US foreign relations” — Catherine Herridge said.

Catherine Herridge

@CBS_Herridge

READ footnote 350 FBI effort to verify Steele Dossier “The (redacted) stated that it did not have high confidence in this subset of Steele’s reporting and ASSESSED that the referenced subset was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate US foreign relations”

View image on Twitter

Herridge: READ FULL footnote 302 Steele dossier sub-source “According to a document circulated among Crossfire Hurricane team members and supervisors in early October 2016, Person 1 had historical contact with persons and entities suspected of being linked to RIS (Russian Intel)

Catherine Herridge

@CBS_Herridge

READ FULL footnote 302 Steele dossier sub-source “According to a document circulated among Crossfire Hurricane team members and supervisors in early October 2016, Person 1 had historical contact with persons and entities suspected of being linked to RIS (Russian Intel)…

View image on Twitter

Enter Bruce Ohr (who STILL has a job at the DOJ):

In addition, in late December 2016, Department Attorney Bruce Ohr told SSA 1 that he had met with Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS) and that Simpson had assessed that Person 1 was a RIS (Russian intel) officer who was central in connecting Trump to Russia.”

Catherine Herridge

@CBS_Herridge

…In addition, in late December 2016, Department Attorney Bruce Ohr told SSA 1 that he had met with Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS) and that Simpson had assessed that Person 1 was a RIS (Russian intel) officer who was central in connecting Trump to Russia.” @CBSNews

View image on Twitter
Attorney General Bill Barr told Fox News host Laura Ingraham there was ‘no basis’ for the FBI’s ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ investigation into then-candidate Donald Trump.

Barr said what happened to Trump was one of the greatest travesties in American history.

Even more alarming was the pattern of events after the campaign to sabotage Trump’s presidency.

Today’s Politically INCORRECT Cartoon by A.F. Branco


It Takes A Thief

CNN’s James Clapper on the view admitted to spying on the Trump Campaign (Crossfire Hurricane) but only did it to protect trump. James Clapper Spying

Political Cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2018.

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A.F. Branco has taken his two greatest passions, (art and politics) and translated them into the cartoons that have been seen all over the country, in various news outlets including “Fox News”, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and “The Washington Post.” He has been recognized by such personalities as James Woods, Sarah Palin, Larry Elder, Lars Larson, and even the great El Rushbo.

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