Pentagon fired pro-Trump official who flagged Halper contracts; He’s fighting back

by WorldTribune Staff, August 16, 2019

A Pentagon analyst who had his top-secret security clearance revoked after he complained about questionable outside research contracts to Stefan Halper, who spied on the Trump campaign, had been cleared of leaking data to the news media but his lawyers were never informed, a report said.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) examined Adam Lovinger’s use of classified computer networks. In a 2018 report, the NCIS said its review “did not reveal any potential CI [counter intelligence] concerns,” according to a copy obtained by The Washington Times.

Adam Lovinger

Sean Bigley, Lovinger’s attorney, has filed a complaint with the Defense Department inspector general accusing Pentagon officials who targeted his client of a “serious ethics violation” for withholding the exoneration, Rowan Scarborough reported on Aug. 14 for The Washington Times.

“This single NCIS document undercuts about 80 percent of the government’s sham case against him,” Bigley told The Times. “No wonder DoD withheld it. No leak, and he didn’t have any ‘sensitive’ documents on his computer so he couldn’t have been mishandling ‘sensitive’ information on his computer.”

Related: Memo revoking Pentagon official’s clearance over Halper contracts was 100 percent redacted, August 27, 2018

The NCIS closed the case on Lovinger in September 2018, and the report was signed in November. Lovinger’s administrative trial began the next month.

Lovinger is a victim of whistleblower reprisal, Bigley said, noting that the Pentagon Office of Net Assessment accused the analyst of mishandling “sensitive” material, a charge Bigley said essentially is made up since there is no such classification.

James Baker, the director of the Pentagon’s secretive Office of Net Assessment, initiated an investigation into Lovinger’s handling of “sensitive material” and filed a report with the department’s consolidated adjudication facility. Then-Defense Secretary James Mattis’s chief of staff then pulled Lovinger from detailed duty on President Donald Trump’s National Security Council staff.

The consolidated adjudication facility backed Baker, rejected Bigley’s rebuttal and revoked Lovinger’s security clearance.

“The next thing he knew, Lovinger was suspended without pay and now is struggling financially,” Bigley said.

The NCIS report said an analysis of the hard drive on Lovinger’s U.S. government-issued Dell computer “did not yield any classified or sensitive information.”

In the declassified version of the report, the word “not” is missing. An NCIS spokesman told The Times on Aug. 14 that the file copy is being corrected to add the word “not.”

Scarborough wrote: “The Lovinger case became a cause celebre for conservatives who believe the Pentagon retaliated against the 12-year employee. He supported President Trump’s policies and went to work for the new White House in 2017. The Office of Net Assessment quickly pulled him back to the Pentagon, where he was suspended and stripped of his security clearance. His pay stopped in April 2018.”

Lovinger lost his appeal in a decision this spring following a five-day closed hearing in December before an administrative judge who ruled in favor of the Office of Net Assessment.

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