The FBI planted a spy in the Trump campaign? Turns out that claim is true. But the story is so much deeper than that.
Who that spy has turned out to be, is a man with CIA connections who has inserted himself into presidential campaigns before. And the fact that the DOJ has fought to keep his identity a secret is completely reshaping what we know about the investigation in Russian meddling.
This is a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.
The investigation into a possible connection between Russia and the Trump campaign just took a dramatic twist, with reports confirming the use of an FBI informant embedded within the Trump campaign in the run-up to the 2016 election.
In a tweet Friday, President Trump wrote, “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story. If true – all time biggest political scandal!”
The Department of Justice and several spokespersons for the FBI did not deny that a spy had been embedded in the Trump campaign but they described the individual as an informant. Turns out he is much more than that.
Who was that informant exactly, and what makes the fact that he was personally embedded in the Trump campaign even more concerning?
His name is Stefan Halper. And according to The Intercept, “Halper was responsible for a long-forgotten spying scandal involving the 1980 election, in which the Reagan campaign – using CIA officials managed by Halper, reportedly under the direction of former CIA director and then-vice-presidential candidate George H.W. Bush – got caught running a spying operation from inside the Carter administration. The plot involved CIA operatives passing classified information about Carter’s foreign policy to Reagan campaign officials in order to ensure the Reagan campaign knew of any foreign policy decisions that Carter was considering.”
So while the DOJ has intentionally painted a picture of this informant as some sort of as a super secret high level, covert intelligence asset, he actually is not. He is an informant who has worked in Washington for years providing information to the CIA.
At this point, we know that Halper met with three Trump campaign advisers in 2016.
George Papadopoulos, who Halper contacted, offering him $3,000 to write a policy paper on issues related to Turkey, Cyprus, Israel and the Leviathan natural gas field. Halper also offered to pay for Papadopoulos’s flight and a three-night stay in London.
Papadopoulos completed the project and was paid for it. But it was what happened while Papadopoulos was in London that is of interest.
From The Daily Caller, “According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, Halper asked Papadopoulos: ‘George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?’ Papadopoulos told Halper he didn’t know anything about emails or Russian hacking…”
Halper also met with Trump aide, Carter Page, “at a July 2016 symposium held at Cambridge regarding the upcoming election, Page told The DCNF [Daily Caller News Foundation]. The pair remained in contact for several months.”
So a least three Trump aides were contacted by Halper… two of those aides have been under FBI investigation and one of those aides has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
If we look at Halper in the course of presidential politics and history, then we know that Halper was part of one of the largest attempts ever for the CIA to push their former director to become president. When George H.W. Bush ran for president, Halper was a foreign policy aide.
As The Intercept points out, “In 1980, the Washington Post published an article reporting on the extremely unusual and quite aggressive involvement of the CIA in the 1980 presidential campaign.”
The CIA had never before backed a presidential and then vice presidential candidate so openly as it did with George H.W. Bush. That is, not until 2016, when former CIA officials publicly and aggressively backed Hillary Clinton.
Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell publicly endorsed Clinton in the New York Times. George W. Bush’s CIA and NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden called Trump a “clear and present danger.”
Reality Check here: The secret informant the FBI used in 2016, is not some top secret asset whose identity needed to be protected. Instead, it is a well known CIA informant whose role in a clearly unethical and possibly illegal spying effort during the 1980 election is very well known.
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