by WorldTribune Staff, July 23, 2019
The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee wants an explanation from the Pentagon as to why the Department of Defense shelled out over $400,000 to Stefan Halper, the informant used by the FBI to spy on Trump associates during the 2016 campaign.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, sent a letter this month to acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper asking for information on contracts awarded to Halper by the DoD’s secretive Office of Net Assessment (ONA) which until his retirement in 2015 was headed by the legendary Andrew Marshall once called “the most influential policy maker you have never heard of”.
Grassley requested the information after an audit was released by the DoD’s inspector general revealed a failure to conduct appropriate oversight of contracts awarded under the DoD.
Halper’s had been awarded multiple contracts totaling $411,000 by Washington Headquarters Services.
“ONA must take immediate steps to shore up its management and oversight of the contracting process,” stated Grassley.
Concerns about Halper’s contracts with the ONA were previously raised by ONA strategist Adam Lovinger, WorldTribune.com reported in August 2018.
After questioning the ONA’s hiring of Halper, however, Lovinger had his security clearance revoked and said he was relegated to clerical duty by Obama-appointed officials.
“Nobody in the office seemed to know what Halper was doing for his money,” Lovinger’s lawyer Sean M. Bigley told The Washington Times. “Adam said Jim Baker, the director, kept Halper’s contracts very close to the vest. And nobody seemed to have any idea what he was doing at the time. He subcontracted out a good chunk of it to other academics. He would compile them all and then collect the balance as his fee as a middleman. That was very unusual.”
Related: Pentagon analyst lost security clearance after criticizing Halper’s ‘sweetheart’ contracts, August 16, 2018
In 2016, the FBI used Halper to get information on Trump campaign associates Carter Page and George Papadopolous.
“Halper first made contact with in July 2016. Page, who was already on the FBI’s radar, was accused at the time of being sympathetic to Russia. Halper stayed in contact with Page until September 2017,” investigative journalist Sara Carter noted.
“During that time, the FBI sought and obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to spy on Page and used Halper to collect information on him, according to sources.”
The House Intelligence Committee Russia report and documents obtained by Carter show that the bulk of the warrant against Page relied heavily on the anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.
Halper, a 74-year old professor, has rarely spoken publicly since being outed by The Washington Post, and other news organizations as one of the informants for the FBI who spied on the Trump campaign.
Grassley stated that the results of the inspector general’s audit “are disappointing and illustrate a systemic failure to manage and oversee the contracting process. Time and again, DoD’s challenges with contract management and oversight are put on display. It is far past time the largest, most critical agency in this country steps up and takes immediate action to increase its efforts to stop waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars.”
Grassley asked that, no later than July 25, the DoD “explain to the Committee the steps DoD has taken to address the recommendations that DoD IG made with respect to ONA’s contracting procedures and produce to the Committee all records related to Professor Halper’s contracts with DoD. In addition, I request that ONA provide a briefing to my Committee staff regarding the Halper contracts.”
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