“Stefan Halper, the former Cambridge University professor who allegedly met with several Trump campaign aides as an FBI informant, asked a federal judge Tuesday to dismiss a defamation lawsuit that a Russian-British academic filed against him in May, saying government agents have immunity from litigation.
Halper does not confirm he was an FBI informant in his motion to dismiss. He also does not admit to being a source for articles about Svetlana Lokhova, the Russia-born academic. But he argues that if he were an FBI informant, he would have immunity afforded to other government agents.
“Private individuals who participate in FBI investigations are subject to the federal common law qualified immunity applicable to government agents,” wrote Halper’s lawyers, Terrance Reid, Robert Moir, and Robert Luskin.
“This immunity justifies dismissal here.”
Lokhova, who studied Soviet-era espionage at Cambridge, sued Halper and several news outlets May 23, accusing all of defaming her over contacts she had in February 2014 with Michael Flynn, who then served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Lokhova alleged Halper planted false rumors that she and Flynn began an improper relationship during the 2014 event, which was hosted by the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar. Halper was a co-convener of the seminar, which hosts current and former Western intelligence operatives.
Sir Christopher Andrew, who was Lokhova’s mentor at Cambridge and a close Halper associate, was the author of the first innuendo-laced article about Lokhova and Flynn. Published days after Flynn was fired as national security adviser, Andrew wrote of the retired lieutenant general’s visit to Cambridge, where he allegedly struck up a quick friendship with a Russia-born woman later identified as Lokhova.
That essay was the basis for follow-up reports The Wall Street Journal and Guardian published in March 2017. Neither of the stories explicitly accused Lokhova of being a Russian spy or of trying to seduce Flynn. Instead, they reported that the 2014 encounter had been disclosed to U.S. intelligence authorities and that Flynn had failed to disclose his contact with Lokhova to DIA.
The tipster who warned U.S. officials about Flynn and Lokhova has not been identified.
The New York Times and Washington Post identified Halper as a longtime FBI informant in articles published in May and June 2018. The NYT also reported that Halper has been a CIA source. Halper was once son-in-law to Ray Cline, a top CIA official in the 1960s and 1970s. Halper also worked closely during the 1980 Ronald Reagan campaign with a team of former CIA officers.
The government has not confirmed that Halper worked as an informant for the FBI or any other government agency during the Trump-Russia probe. (Read more: The Daily Caller, 8/13/2019)