H.A.L.P.E.R. Spells Game Up for Obama's Spies
Last week I reported that Internet sleuths had winkled out the name of the spy/agent provocateur that Obama's intelligence officers had used on the Trump campaign. The New York Times and Washington Post, the Democrats' semi-official newspapers this week megaphoned the instigators, offering up their justifications without naming his name.
Again, the name is Stefan Halper, who, as I wrote here last week, was paid a substantial sum by the Department of Defense's Office of Net Assessment.
If it was for this work – and it suspiciously looks like it because the payments were made in July and September of 2016 when he was weaseling his way into the campaign – then we know we have the DNI, CIA, DOJ, FBI, Dept. of State and the Defense Department working for Hillary's election and to smear and create a basis for further spying on Trump and his campaign.
The NYT and Washington Post stories were clearly dictated by the perpetrators of this unprecedented effort to interfere with our elections. A careful reading shows that they leaked just enough about Halper to positively identify him while the press refuses to name him because the selective leakers warned, "that exposing him could endanger him or his contacts." If you buy that nonsense, please send me your name and contact information because I have a great investment deal for you. Nevertheless, in trying to justify what was done, the papers revealed more of how Halper worked to entrap low-level campaign workers, perhaps to pad up a nonexistent predicate for the spying which had already occurred and which continued, even after the election when Deputy Attorney General renewed the fatally flawed FISA warrant.
In the selective leak to the press the officials who claim neither we nor Congress are entitled to this information we, nevertheless, learn this about his work:
From the Post story: Halper struck up a conversation with Carter Page (a longtime FBI asset and witness against Russian interests himself) in July 2016 posing as an academic "interested in American politics." In late summer Halper met with Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis and offered to provide "foreign policy expertise to the Trump effort." Clovis begged off further meetings in which they discussed policy toward China due to the press of campaign activities. In September, he contacted George Papadopoulos, "an unpaid foreign policy advisor" to the Trump campaign, and invited him to London to work on a research paper on energy for which he paid him $3,000. The Post concedes this is a standard intelligence trick --offer to pay a mark you're trying to recruit for a report on an innocuous subject.
I suspect like the long-debunked claim that Valerie Plame was a covert agent whose naming jeopardized national security; the claim that Halper's name must not be revealed is utter bunk, but the press incuriously bought it then and buys it now:
The stakes are so high that the FBI has been working over the past two weeks to mitigate the potential damage if the source's identity were revealed, according to several people familiar with the matter. The bureau took steps to protect other live investigations that he has worked on and sought to lessen any danger to associates if his identity became known, said these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence operations.
The Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel has been having a field day unraveling the many contradictions of the intelligence community's shifting stories and the persistent stonewalling by the DoJ and FBI to congressional investigators at the very same time they are dropping tales to compliant press.
For example, she tweets:
5. Back in Dec., NYT assured us it was the Papadopoulos-Downer convo that inspired FBI to launch official counterintelligence operation on July 31, 2016. Which was convenient, since it diminished the role of the dossier
6. Now NYT tells us FBI didn't debrief downer until August 2nd. And Nunes says no "official intelligence" from allies was delivered to FBI about that convo prior to July 31. So how did FBI get Downer details? (Political actors?) And what really did inspire the CI investigation?
Let me explain this. In May 2016 Australia's High Commissioner to the UK, Alexander Downer (a Hillary friend) met with Papadopoulos in a London wine bar and questioned him about Russia and the Hillary emails. Two months later he reportedly forwarded information about the conversation to the FBI, which it claimed was the basis for the counterintelligence investigation of Trump, but as Strassel notes – Downer wasn't questioned by the FBI until days after the investigation was opened.
Halper and Downer weren't alone in trying to see if Papadopoulos had information about the hacked DNC emails (whose impenetrable password you may recall, was "password").
Former FBI agent Mark Wauck suggests Halper may have been operating under a preliminary investigation(PI), not a full Investigation (FI)
The FBI is asked--way back as early as 2015, but who knows? -- to be helpful to the Dems and they agree. What they do is they hire non-government consultants with close Dem ties to do "analytical work" for them, which happens to include total access to NSA data. Advantages? For the Dems, obviously, access to EVERYTHING digital. A gold mine for modern campaign research. For the FBI there's also an advantage. They get to play dumb -- gosh, we didn't know they were looking at all that stuff! They also don't have to falsify anything, like making [stuff] up to "justify" opening a FI [full investigation]on an American citizen and then lying to the FISC to get a FISA on the USPER [US person] and having to continually renew the FISA and lie all over again to the FISC each renewal. And the beauty of it all is, who's ever going to find out? And even if they do, how do you prove criminal intent?
So everything's humming along until a pain in the a** named Mike Rogers at NSA does an audit in 4/2016, just as the real campaign season is about to start. And Rogers learns that 85% of the searches the FBI has done between 12/2015 and 4/2016 have been totally out of bounds. And he clamps down -- no more non-government contractors, tight auditing on searches of NSA data. Oh sh*t! What to do, just give up? Well, not necessarily, but there's a lot more work involved and a lot more fudging the facts. What the FBI needs to do now is get a FISA that will cover their a** and provide coverage on the GOPers going forward. That means, first get a FI on an USPER [US person] connected to the Trump campaign (who looks, in [April] or [May] 2016, like the GOP candidate) so you can then get that FISA. That's not so easy, because they've got to find an USPER with that profile who they can plausibly present as a Russian spy. But they have this source named Halper.
So they first open a PI [preliminary investigation]. That allows them to legally use NatSec Letters and other investigative techniques to keep at least some of what they were doing going. But importantly this allows them to legally use Halper to try to frame people connected to the Trump campaign -- IOW, find someone to open a FI on so they can then get that FISA. However the PI is framed, that's what they're looking to do. It has legal form, even if the real intent is to help the Dems. And you can see why this had to be a CI [counterintelligence] thing, so in a sense the Russia narrative was almost inevitable -- no other bogeyman would really fit the bill, and especially on short notice.
So that's what they do, and Halper helps them come up with Papadopoulos and Page, so by the end of July they've got their FI. Problem. Their first FISA is rejected, but eventually, 10/2016, they get that.
And then Trump wins and Rogers visits Trump Tower. And the Deep State has a fit.
If his surmise is valid, it's likely all leading Republican contenders were also the subject of preliminary investigations.
Sundance fisks the NYT article on the repeated efforts to get nonexistent information from Papadopoulos by Halper, Downer, and also Halper's female assistant who over drinks tried to get him to admit he knew about Russian attempts to affect the election when the other two attempts had failed.
Halper, per the NYT, also spied on General Michael Flynn.
The justification peddled to and bought by the NYT is that the FBI agents and their contractor Halper were just trying to protect Trump from the Russians. I may be naïve, but I should think that spying on all the communications of a political candidate and his associates (and unmasking and leaking what might help his opponent) seem a preposterous justification when a meeting to convey their concerns would have been more than adequate. It sounds like an after-the-fact weak justification for otherwise inexplicable conduct.
When the efforts of the intelligence community conspirators failed, they came up with another gambit:
"So until election day, the "working group at Langley" was trying to dig up dirt on the Trump campaign and wasn't coming up with any. But Brennan didn't want his efforts to go to waste, so he leaked to Senator Harry Reid the existence of the counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign. He couldn't leak any damning findings from that probe because there weren't any. But he could inflict political damage by getting Reid to tell the press darkly of the probe's existence."
And the same press which is trying to persuade us to believe an impossible thing every day, dutifully marched in step to spread the word that there was a counterintelligence investigation into Trump, believing we were all dumb enough to think a shrewd billionaire had great interest in conniving with the Russians. At the same time the press was downplaying Hillary's far more substantive financial contributions and connections with Russia and Russian interests, even her endorsing the sale of a substantial amount of our uranium deposits to them.
Soon enough, we are told, we'll get the long-awaited report of the DOJ's Inspector General on the first part of his inquiry – the investigation into Hillary's misuse of classified information on her email servers. Nevertheless, the DOJ stonewalling continues. Senator Chuck Grassley has had quite enough of this, demanding a copy of the letter describing the scope of the Special Counsel's mandate and power by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. He's given the Department of Justice until May 31 to hand over an unredacted copy of the Rosenstein memo naming Mueller and describing (in the vaguest terms) Mueller's powers and jurisdiction.(The same thing he's asking for was just provided to Judge T.S. Ellis in the Manafort case in Virginia.) How desperate are the Democrats to keep us from knowing what went on and what is still going on? This desperate: Senator Mark Warner (D-Va) is claiming that the FBI must not accept congressional oversight:
In essence he's arguing a notion that Judge Ellis has correctly swatted away – that the intelligence community is entitled to operate as a government on its own, without oversight. A preposterous argument from a member of the Gang of Eight whose job it is to conduct – wait for it – all oversight of the DOJ and FBI. Of course, as Sundance notes, Warner has every reason to shun congressional oversight and transparency – he was in on the intelligence scam himself:
Mark Warner was also the guy caught text messaging with DC Lawyer Adam Waldman in the spring of 2017. (his first assignment) Waldman was the lawyer for the interests of Christopher Steele – the author of the dossier.
While he was working as an intermediary putting Senator Warner and Christopher Steele in contact with each other, simultaneously Adam Waldman was also representing the interests of… wait for it… Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.
Derispaska was the Russian person approached by Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok and asked to assist in creating dirt on the Trump campaign, via Paul Manafort.
You see, Senator Mark Warner has a vested interest in making sure that no-one ever gets to the bottom of the 2016 political weaponization, spying and surveillance operation.
Senator Mark Warner was a participant in the execution of the "insurance policy" trying to remove President Trump via the Russian Collusion narrative.
In this regard – vested interests in hiding from us the extent of the Obama Administration's lawless perfidy – Senator Warner is not alone. Ben Weingarten at The Federalist discusses how there is no longer any upside for Mueller's investigation to continue and offers up why he thinks Mueller continues on this pointless endeavor.
He notes how the latest effort of the Mueller team – the indictment of 13 Russians and three front companies – has devolved into clownishness. Mueller clearly thought these flawed indictments would never go to trial and the public relations affect was all that he wanted. Ka-Boom – wrong. One of the companies named hired very capable counsel who has, among other things, noted that one of the three entities named wasn't in existence at the time of the purported offense, some of the people named do not exist, and the offense charged is not illegal in any event.
The company has made discovery demands, the court has denied the Mueller request for delay.
The Russians will now get to enjoy all the benefits of our legal system without the actual "employees" involved ever likely appearing in court. So what was once a no-downside case for the Mueller special counsel has now become one with little upside.
At best, the Mueller special counsel may be highly embarrassed in being forced to essentially fold by dismissing the indictment, or at least the charges against Concord Management. Of course, this would delegitimize the special counsel by showing that one of its few non-process-crime cases pertaining to its Russia-centric mandate fell apart.
Adding insult to injury, a New York Sun editorial posits the special counsel could find itself facing litigation from Concord Management under the "Hyde Amendment" concerning frivolous criminal prosecutions. Russia will certainly be laughing.
Why continue this, he asks, and answers:
The Russiagate investigations inevitably seem to lead back to the investigators. This is not because the president's defenders are running interference. Rather, so many people seem to have been invested in protecting assumed presidential winner Hillary Clinton, then in destroying her opponent and victor Donald Trump, that too many loose ends were never tied up and the malefactors need to cover their tracks. The Mueller special counsel is run by their friends and colleagues.
The cover-up effort has come into focus because it is so widespread and the fact pattern has played itself out over and over too many times. Every day we see more evidence of it in stonewalling, leaking, disingenuously raising national security concerns, contradictory statements, and claims that protecting the integrity of institutions justify unethical if not illegal actions when it is these actions themselves that have destroyed the integrity of those institutions. ...
But increasingly it is very clear that for the non-useful idiots, all of the most insane narratives about Trump must be kept up or their credibility will be shredded.
Wretchard tweets something impossible to deny: "The biggest problem with politically weaponizing intelligence agencies is it CREATES a pathway for the foreign takeover of the system. If once a hostile power takes over the WH, it obtains the power to remain indefinitely."
We now have an imaginary crime – collusion – with imaginary evidence and even imaginary defendants. What is not imaginary is the selfish effort to destroy our polity by several handfuls of men and women who abused their positions of trust for intended partisan gain that failed. Give them the hook already.