University of Cambridge

August 13, 2019 – Spygate professor, Stefan Halper, claims immunity against Russian/British academic Svetlana Lokhova’s lawsuit

Svetlana Lokhova says she is a writer, not a spy — ‘people need to be able to differentiate.’ (Credit: Valentine Vermeil/REA)

“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.

Sir Richard Dearlove (l), Christopher Andrew (c), then-DIA Director Michael Flynn (r), at Cambridge University, Feb. 28, 2014. (Credit: Svetlana Lokhova)

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)

April 6, 2019 – Russian academic linked to Flynn denies being spy, says her past contact was ‘used’ to smear him

Svetlana Lokhova (Credit: Fox News)

“A Russian-born academic who was at the center of attention in 2017 for past contact with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn told Fox News in an exclusive interview that she is not a spy for Moscow – and, to the contrary, believes she was “used” to smear Flynn.

“I think there’s a high chance that it was coordinated, and I believe it needs to be properly investigated,” Svetlana Lokhova told Fox News.

Lokhova entered the political firestorm in early 2017, as Flynn was forced out of the Trump administration over lying about his contact with Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. At the time, Lokhova was contacted by three American media outlets over a four-day period – and was promptly hit with claims in the press and on social media that she was a Russian operative for Moscow.

The allegations involved her contact with Flynn three years prior at a 2014 dinner at the University of Cambridge, England, when Flynn was Defense Intelligence Agency director.

Lokhova said the 2014 Cambridge event was attended by about a dozen people. According to an event flyer, the Cambridge events were organized by Halper and others including Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of British intelligence service MI6.

“General Flynn was the guest of honor and he sat on one side of the table in the middle. I sat on the opposite side of the table to Flynn next to Richard Dearlove because I was the only woman at dinner, and it’s a British custom that the only woman gets to sit next to the host.”

When asked if she was ever alone with Flynn, Lokhova told Fox News, “I have never been alone with General Flynn, before, during or after the dinner.”

(Read more: Fox News, 4/06/2019)

August 24, 2018 – Deputy assistant director Jonathan Moffa’s testimony about Confidential Human Sources (CHS)

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, (r) joined by committee counsel Robert Parmiter on the House subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, Nov. 18, 2015. (Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press)

(…) Much of the questioning of Moffa was done by Robert Parmiter, the chief counsel for the Republican staff on the Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee. He asked Moffa about August 2016 text messages between Moffa and FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was putting together a meeting to discuss the initial organization of the investigation. Even at that early date, Strzok specified that they needed to discuss the use of “CHS” and “liaison.”

Parmiter asked about the acronym CHS: “What does that stand for?”

Moffa replied: “Confidential human source.”

When Parmiter asked Moffa whether Christopher Steele was a CHS, Moffa went off the record to confer with his bureau-provided counsel, Robert Sinton. When they came back on the record, Moffa answered the question: “Yes.”

That was merely confirmation of what had been known for some time — that Christopher Steele was an official informant expecting to be paid by the FBI for his dossier information. Moffa also confirmed that Steele’s status as a CHS had eventually been revoked. Moffa had been at a meeting where “closing” Steele as a Confidential Human Source was discussed, but Moffa declined to answer questions about what Steele did to lose his CHS status.

Steele was hardly the only CHS used in the FBI’s investigation. It has been widely reported that a retired Cambridge professor, Stefan Halper, was a CHS — we’ve all been lectured not to use the word “spy” in describing him.

And now the New York Times has put in print what was long suspected, that the woman Halper presented to George Papadopoulos as his “assistant” was actually something else altogether. “Azra Turk” was an FBI asset sent across the Atlantic with a mission to get incriminating information out of Papadopoulos. It’s not clear whether she counted as a CHS herself, or whether she was an “investigator” with some other official status at the bureau.

So the question remains: Other than the woman whose cover name was Azra Turk (and whose official position may or may not have been as a CHS), were Steele and Halper the only Confidential Human Sources used against the Trump campaign? It doesn’t appear so.

Moffa was asked in the closed-door Capitol Hill interview, “How many CHSs did you have working on this investigation at the time?”

Moffa again conferred with his counsel off the record.

“Okay,” he replied, back on the record. “So I legitimately do not know the total number of CHSs. That’s an operational side decision, but I also don’t want to imply to you that I don’t — I’m not aware of any CHSs, right. So that’s what we were just talking about. But I legitimately can’t tell you the overall number that are engaged. I just don’t know it.” (Read more: National Review, 5/3/2019)

October 21, 2016 – The FBI likely withheld exculpatory evidence in their Carter Page FISA court application

George Papadopoulos (l), Stefan Halper (c) and Carter Page. (Credit: public domain)

(…) “Page and Papadopoulos, who barely knew each other, met separately in August and September 2016 with Stefan Halper, the American-born Cambridge University professor who, the FBI told Congress, worked as an undercover informer in the Russia case.

Papadopoulos was the young aide that the FBI used to justify opening a probe into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016, after he allegedly told a foreign diplomat that he knew Russia possessed incriminating emails about Hillary Clinton.

Page, a volunteer campaign adviser, was the American the FBI then targeted on Oct. 21, 2016, for secret surveillance while investigating Democratic Party-funded allegations that he secretly might have coordinated Russia’s election efforts with the Trump campaign during a trip to Moscow.

To appreciate the significance of the two men’s interactions with Halper, one must understand the rules governing the FBI when it seeks a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant such as the one secured against Page.

First, the FBI must present evidence to FISA judges that it has verified and that comes from intelligence sources deemed reliable. Second, it must disclose any information that calls into question the credibility of its sources. Finally, it must disclose any evidence suggesting the innocence of its investigative targets.

Thanks to prior releases of information, we know the FBI fell short on the first two counts. Multiple FBI officials have testified that the Christopher Steele dossier had not been verified when its allegations were submitted as primary evidence supporting the FISA warrant against Page.

Likewise, we know the FBI failed to tell the courts that Steele admitted to a federal official that he was desperate to defeat Trump in the 2016 election and was being paid by Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to gather dirt on the GOP candidate. Both pieces of information are the sort of credibility-defining details that should be disclosed about a source.” (Read more: The Hill, 3/14/2019)

October 11, 2016 – State Dept. official Kathleen Kavalec’s notes reveal Christopher Steele identifying Russian sources

“Dossier author Christopher Steele identified a former Russian spy chief and a top adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin as being involved in handling potentially compromising information about President Donald Trump, State Department notes show.

Putin aide Vladislav Surkov (l) and former Russian foreign intelligence chief, Vyacheslav Trubnikov (r) (Credit: public domain)

In her notes, State Department official Kathleen Kavalec also referred to the two Russians — former Russian foreign intelligence chief Vyacheslav Trubnikov and Putin aide Vladislav Surkov — as “sources.”

The references to Trubnikov and Surkov, which have not previously been reported, are not definitive proof that either were sources for Steele’s dossier or that they were involved in an effort to collect blackmail material on Trump.

But the notes are significant because they are the first government documents that show Steele discussing potential sources for the information in his dossier, which the former MI6 officer provided to the FBI.

Trubnikov also has links to Stefan Halper, an FBI informant who collected information from Trump campaign aides George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. Halper arranged for Trubnikov to visit intelligence seminars at the University of Cambridge in 2012 and 2015. He also tapped Trubnikov to contribute to a Pentagon study published in 2015.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 5/16/2019)

July 15, 2016 – Cambridge Prof With CIA, MI6 ties met with Carter Page during campaign and beyond

Stefan Halper (Credit: Wikipedia)

“Days after Carter Page’s high-profile trip to Moscow in July 2016, the Trump campaign adviser had his first encounter with Stefan Halper, a University of Cambridge professor with CIA and MI6 contacts.

…”Page’s relationship with Halper tracks closely with the period when the Trump adviser was under heavy scrutiny from the federal government.

By the time he joined the campaign in March 2016, Page was already known to the FBI, though not because of any criminal activity. FBI agents interviewed him in 2013 as part of an investigation into a Russian spy ring operating in New York. Page said he met with one of the Russians and provided him with academic papers he had written.

The FBI put Page back on its radar at around the time he joined the Trump campaign. In late-spring 2016, top government officials, including then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and then-FBI Director James Comey, discussed whether to alert the Trump campaign to Page’s past interactions with the Russian spy ring. But government officials decided against providing the information.

Page’s visit to Moscow, where he spoke at the New Economic School on July 8, 2016, is said to have piqued the FBI’s interest even further. Page and Halper spoke on the sidelines of an election-themed symposium held at Cambridge days later. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6 and a close colleague of Halper’s, spoke at the event.

Page was invited to the event in June by a University of Cambridge doctoral candidate.

Page would enter the media spotlight in September 2016 after Yahoo! News reported that the FBI was investigating whether he met with two Kremlin insiders during that Moscow trip.

It would later be revealed that the Yahoo! article was based on unverified information from Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the dossier regarding the Trump campaign. Steele’s report, which was funded by Democrats, also claimed Page worked with Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on the collusion conspiracy.” (Read more: Daily Caller, 5/17/2018)

July 11, 2016 – Stefan Halper meets Carter Page at a symposium held at Cambridge

Stefan Halper (Credit: You Tube)

“(Stefan) Halper met campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page at a July 2016 symposium held at Cambridge regarding the upcoming election, Page told TheDCNF. The pair remained in contact for several months.

Halper’s intentions are unclear, while a source familiar with the investigations into Russian meddling told TheDCNF Halper’s name popped up on investigators’ radar. There is no indication of any wrongdoing on his part, and it is not clear if he has been in touch with investigators.”

(…) “Page is also a prominent figure in the investigation due to allegations made against him in the infamous Steele dossier. Page’s trip to Moscow in early July 2016 is a central piece of the dossier. Christopher Steele, the author of the Democrat-funded report, alleges Page met secretly with two Kremlin insiders as part of the Trump campaign’s collusion effort.

Page attended the Cambridge event Halper set up, four days after that trip to Moscow.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 3/26/2018)

July 10, 2016 – Carter Page attends Cambridge event due to an invite by former State Dept. official, Steven Schrage and he is now under congressional scrutiny

Steven Schrage (l) moderates panel with former Minnesota Rep. Vin Weber and former Sec. of State Madeleine Albright, at University of Cambridge, July 11, 2016. (Credit: University of Cambridge/YouTube)

(…) A former State Department official who advised Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign, Steven Schrage invited Page to Cambridge. While the invitation has previously been reported, Page told the Daily Caller News Foundation he and Schrage remained in contact until after the 2016 election. They met at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and in the Washington, D.C., area, Page said in an exclusive phone interview this week.

It is unclear if Schrage played a role in the Trump-Russia investigation or if he was aware that Halper was an FBI informant. Page said he saw nothing during his encounters with Schrage that made him suspect he was involved in the government’s investigation of him.

“I never saw anything suspicious,” Page said of Schrage, noting he is reluctant to “point fingers” at anyone because of his own experience facing what he says are false accusations of being a Russian agent.

California Rep. Devin Nunes is not so reserved.

Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, dropped Schrage’s name out of the clear blue during his opening statement at the July 24 hearing with former special counsel Robert Mueller. When Nunes asked Mueller whether the special counsel’s office interviewed Schrage, the former FBI director replied, “In those areas, I am going to stay away from.”

Nunes said in a Fox News interview Sunday that he wants to know why Schrage invited Page to Cambridge and whether his contacts with the former Trump adviser were linked to the FBI’s own interests in the Trump campaign.

“What we’re trying to figure out is when did the FBI really start to run the investigation, what types of processes did they use, what was the predicate. Because, look, it really appears like they were spying on the Trump campaign,” Nunes said.

“Maybe [Schrage] was just a guy working for minimum wage sweeping the floors around Cambridge. I highly doubt it,” the Republican added. “And the fact that he hasn’t come forward in two-and-a-half years is highly suspect.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 8/01/2019)

July 7, 2016 – Trump campaign advisor, Stephen Miller, also receives an invite to the Cambridge event where ‘Spygate’ is born

Stephen Miller (Credit: public domain)

Carter Page was not the only Trump campaign adviser invited to a July 2016 event at the University of Cambridge, the storied British institution where “Spygate” is believed to have originated.

The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned that an invitation to attend the campaign-themed event was extended to Stephen Miller, another Trump campaign adviser who currently serves in the White House. Miller did not attend the event, which featured former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as a keynote speaker.

J. D. Gordon, the director of the campaign’s national security advisory committee, told TheDCNF he believes the invitation from Cambridge to Miller was sent in May 2016. That’s a month before a graduate assistant of FBI informant Stefan Halper sent an invitation to Page to visit the campus.

“The invitation was to Stephen Miller who could not attend,” Gordon, a former Pentagon spokesman, told TheDCNF. “In the midst of our policy office search for a surrogate, Carter Page informed me that he had also been invited and would like to attend.”

Gordon said he told Page the campaign preferred he did not attend the Cambridge conclave.

“Though since he wasn’t planning to make public remarks, conduct media interviews or otherwise represent the campaign, he was not required to fill in one of our request forms.”

Gordon said Miller, a former Senate aide to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, passed the Cambridge request to John Mashburn, a campaign policy adviser. Mashburn gave it to Gordon.

The three-day Cambridge conclave was where Page first met Halper, a former Cambridge professor who turns out to have also been working for the FBI as part of a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.

Page, an energy consultant, has said Halper, a veteran of three Republican administrations, offered advice about the campaign during a brief chat on the sidelines of the event.

The pair met numerous times over the course of the next 14 months, Page told TheDCNF. He visited Halper’s farm in Virginia and met with the 73-year-old academic in Washington, D.C. They stayed in contact through September 2017, the same month the U.S. government’s surveillance warrants against Page expired.

Halper, who has longstanding connections to the CIA, met with at least two other Trump campaign advisers — Sam Clovis and George Papadopoulos.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 6/05/2018)