FBI Spy to Trump Campaign Was Paid Large Sums by Secretive Defense Department Think Tank

May 24, 2018 Last Updated: August 16, 2018

Stefan Halper, the FBI informer who spied on the campaign on then-candidate Donald Trump, received more than a million dollars from a Defense Department think tank.

Halper received five payments, government records show. The first one in 2012, for about $198,000, was for a research contract with the Office of Net Assessment—a strategy think tank that falls directly under the Defense Secretary. The nature of the research is not clear. Much of the think tank’s research never gets released publicly.

The second payment of $204,000 came in 2014 with a contract described as “research and studies—the year 2030.”

The third payment for some $245,000 came in 2015. The contract was marked as “Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services” but the description read, “Russia-China Relationship Study.”

On Sept. 26, 2016, one day before the previous one expired, Halper landed another contract described as “India and China econ study,” which was extended on July 26, 2017, until March 29, 2018—it totaled almost $412,000. The work was categorized as “special studies/analysis- foreign/national security policy.”

The last sum was paid in two installments: one on Sept. 27, 2016, for about $282,000 and the last on July 26, 2017, for some $129,000.

Halper has links to the CIA and MI6 (British intelligence agency). He’s served in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations and is a professor at the Cambridge University.

Halper was, in effect, revealed as the FBI informant by The Washington Post and The New York Times on May 18, after others, like blogger Jeff Carlson, suggested the same.

Based on the leaks to the papers, the FBI was using Halper in its investigation of any possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Halper met with Carter Page, a volunteer adviser to the Trump campaign, at a Cambridge symposium held on July 11-12, 2016. Page had just returned from a trip to Russia a few days before that and said he remained in contact with Halper for months to come, The Daily Caller reported.

Page’s trip became the subject of unsubstantiated claims in the Steele dossier—a piece of opposition research put together by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele and paid for by Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The dossier was heavily relied upon to obtain a warrant to spy on Page several weeks before the presidential election, according to a memo by the Republican majority on the House Intelligence Committee.

Top FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) officials authorized the warrant and intentionally withheld from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court that much of the evidence presented in the application was based on the dossier, the memo says.

The dossier claimed Page met with a Russian official and a top executive of a major Russian oil company during his trip. Neither meeting has been corroborated. Page has denied under oath that he met the individuals.

The timing of the Page-Halper meeting is significant because the FBI, based on previous leaks to The New York Times, only started to look into any Trump-Russia links after Wikileaks started publishing emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server on July 22.

The Wikileaks release prompted Alexander Downer, then-Australian ambassador to London, to send an official cable to Canberra about his earlier conversation with Trump campaign volunteer adviser George Papadopulos. That information was then communicated to the FBI with the help of Joe Hockey, Australian ambassador to the United States, The Sydney Morning Herald reported, without citing any sources.

On May 6, Downer’s counselor Erika Thompson contacted Papadopulos and asked him to meet Downer, The Daily Caller reported. Around May 10, the three met at the Kensington Gardens restaurant in London. It’s not clear whether anyone else attended. After some drinks, Papadopulos told Downer that, about two weeks earlier, Maltesian academic Joseph Mifsud told him that Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton and thousands of her emails.

Papadopulos said he thought Mifsud was talking about some of the 30,000 emails that Hillary Clinton deleted instead of handing them over to the FBI when she was investigated for mishandling classified information as State Secretary. Some of the deleted emails were later found on the laptop of disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner.

Halper has met with Papadopulos too.

On Sept. 2, 2016, Halper offered Papadopulos $3,000 and a paid trip to London for writing a paper on a gas field in the Mediterranean Sea. Papadopulos accepted the offer and flew to London, where he met Halper and his assistant, The Daily Caller reported, based on an anonymous source.

During the meeting, Halper asked: “George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?” Papadopoulos told Halper he didn’t know anything about emails or Russian hacking.

On Aug. 31 or Sept. 1, 2016, Halper also met with Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis in Northern Virginia and offered help to the Trump campaign with foreign policy, The Washington Post reported. Clovis’s attorney said they mostly talked about China. Russia didn’t come up.

Several days before the election, Halper said that the victory of Hillary Clinton “would be best for U.S.-UK relations and for relations with the European Union,” in an interview with Sputnik.

Correction: The article was updated to reflect that Stefan Halper’s fourth Defense Department contract was described as “India and China econ study,” and was extended on July 26, 2017, until March 29, 2018.

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