Throughout all the twists and turns of the ever-growing “Spygate” scandal over the past four years, what has stood out the most to me has been the key roles played by four mysterious figures:
- Professor Joseph Mifsud
- Professor Stefan Halper
- FBI special agent Joseph Pientka
- Justice Department official Bruce Ohr
While there is an exhaustive amount of publicly available information and evidence concerning the actions of most people involved in the creation of the false Trump–Russia collusion narrative, four important figures in the story still remain as elusive and mysterious as ever.
Two of these mysterious figures are academics who appear to have long been involved in intelligence work. One is a still-serving FBI agent who appears to have played a key role in almost every major part of the agency’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation. And one is still a top Department of Justice (DOJ) official, although he’s been demoted several times.
Professor Joseph Mifsud
Mifsud is the Maltese professor who first approached Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos with a supposed offer of help from the Russian government.
Mifsud has remained in hiding for more than three years, even as plenty of people have been looking to speak to him—and I don’t mean just reporters.
The country that Mifsud is most closely identified with recently is Italy, where he has been rumored to be hiding.
The news last October that both U.S. Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham—whom Barr has tapped to investigate the origins of the Crossfire Hurricane probe—had just returned from a trip to Italy, where they had received Mifsud’s phones, caused shockwaves in the news media.
Far from ignoring Mifsud, as many had assumed, Durham appears to be treating Mifsud as a central figure in his ongoing investigation.
Professor Stefan Halper
Professor Stefan Halper, reportedly a longtime CIA operative with a history of being allegedly involved in a political spying operation during the 1980 presidential election, played a key role in starting the Trump–Russia collusion narrative.
According to reporting by The New York Times, Halper was an informant for the FBI in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
Svetlana Lokhova, a Russian-born academic based in the UK, has alleged that Halper defamed her by allegedly painting her as a Russian spy and saying that she had an affair with Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn—who, at the time, was director of the Defense Intelligence Agency—on behalf of Russian intelligence.
That accusation was always absurd on its face, since Flynn and Lokhova met exactly one time—at a private dinner in 2014 at Cambridge, when Halper wasn’t even present.
Durham has reportedly expanded his probe to include the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, an agency that had previously awarded multiple contracts to Halper.
FBI Special Agent Joseph Pientka
I’m not aware of the DOJ or FBI having ever formally acknowledged that Pientka was the second agent at the Flynn interview in the White House on Jan. 24, 2017.
Pientka wasn’t only present at the creation of the Flynn scandal—since he was accused of having lied to the FBI during the interview—but also that of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuse scandal, according to the DOJ inspector general report.
I have long speculated that Pientka flipped early and is now a protected witness.
During the three years that I have been trying to locate information about him, I have only been able to locate one photograph that purports to have him in it.
Why would they utterly expose every other DOJ/FBI person involved in the coup attempt except Pientka? Why does he get this very different treatment? What makes him so special?
By comparison, both Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were unceremoniously dropped from Robert Mueller’s special counsel team without any explanation and subsequently had their text messages publicly released by the DOJ.
Yet, despite all the furious public activity concerning Comey, McCabe, Strzok, and Page, there was not even a blip on the radar screen about Pientka. I have even humorously taken to calling Pientka “The DOJ’s Invisible Man.”
I received confirmation for this opinion when Pientka’s name was quickly scrubbed from the FBI website in San Francisco after a fellow researcher spotted it there and provided before and after screenshots.
Department of Justice Official Bruce Ohr
Ohr is a name all those who have kept up with the Spygate scandal are intimately familiar with.
Most notably, Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS and contributed to the research on Donald Trump and his family. Ohr himself became a backchannel between Christopher Steele and the FBI after Steele had been fired by the agency as a confidential informant.
Ohr certainly was right in the middle of Spygate.
Despite that, Ohr also has been kept out of sight. Even after having been demoted at least twice, Ohr by all reports is still employed at the DOJ. That’s led to much speculation that he’s also cooperating with investigators. He has testified to Congress behind closed doors, but much of what he said remains confidential.
Last week, it was reported that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) sent a letter to Barr requesting that he provide current DOJ and FBI personnel for hearings. Among the people on the list are Pientka and Ohr.
Also, Barr’s most recent update on the status of Durham’s investigation is that he expected it to be wrapped up in the late spring or early summer of this year.
So we could very well be seeing some of these mysterious figures stepping onto the national stage soon.
Brian Cates is a writer based in South Texas and the author of “Nobody Asked For My Opinion … But Here It Is Anyway!” He can be reached on Twitter @drawandstrike.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.