by WorldTribune Staff, November 22, 2019
The secretive Office of Net Assessment has become part of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia hoax.
FBI informant Stefan Halper, who spied for the bureau on Trump campaign associates, was paid more than $1 million by the Office of Net Assessment “for research papers of dubious value,” RealClearPolitics reported.
After he was identified as an FBI informant in 2018, Halper “has remained out of sight,” Washington Times reporter Rowan Scarborough noted.
“These latest developments reveal the expansive nature of what is now a Justice Department criminal probe into the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign,” investigative journalist Sara Carter noted on Nov. 21. “The revelation also comes on the heels of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report regarding the bureau’s investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.”
Related: Where is Stefan Halper? Bogus collusion stories raise questions; Nunes sets criminal referrals, April 8, 2019
Sen. Lindsey Graham announced to Fox News’s Sean Hannity Wednesday night that Horowitz’s investigative report will be released to the public on Dec. 9.
Attorney General William Barr, who appointed Durham, is conducting a separate investigation alongside Horowitz’s probe. “Both investigations are examining how U.S. intelligence agencies began investigating now debunked ties between Russia and Trump campaign personnel in the 2016 presidential election,” Carter wrote.
Multiple sources confirmed to Carter that Durham “has spoken extensively with sources working in the Office of Net Assessment, as well as outside contractors, that were paid through Pentagon office.”
In 2016, Halper was an integral part of the FBI’s investigation into short-term Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page and George Papadopolous. Halper first made contact with Page at his seminar 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.
During that time, the FBI sought and obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to spy on Page and used Halper to collect information on him, according to sources. It is further alleged that Halper may have secretly recorded his conversations with Page and Papadopolous. Some congressional officials believe that if recordings exist they were kept from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and would be exculpatory evidence that would have exonerated Page from the FISA warrant and allegations that Papadopolous was attempting to seek any help from the Russians with regard to Hillary Clinton’s emails.
In an interview with Papadopolous earlier this year, he told Carter that he was shocked when Halper insinuated to him that Russia was helping the Trump campaign. Papadopolous said that he told him, “he didn’t have any idea what the hell he was talking about…that would be treason and I have nothing to do with that.”
Meanwhile, House Republicans used Thursday’s impeachment hearing to point out that the Democrats sought foreign interference in the 2016 election by funding and distributing the bogus anti-Trump dossier.
Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, took witness Fiona Hill through a chronology, from opposition research firm Fusion GPS to dossier author Christopher Steele to the FBI, which put President Donald Trump under investigation. The operation was funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
“The DNC hired [a law firm] who hired Fusion GPS who hired Christopher Steele who talk to Russians who gave him a bunch of dirt, a bunch of National Enquirer garbage, that he compiled in a dossier and our FBI used it,” Jordan said. “They used it as part of their investigation that they opened in July 2016 where they spied on to American citizens associated with the presidential campaign. My guess is that has probably never happened in American history.”
Hill, a Russia scholar who served on the National Security Council staff from early 2017 to spring 2019, testified she believes Steele, a former British intelligence officer, was “played” by the Kremlin with false anti-Trump information.
In the 2000s, Hill was the U.S. national intelligence officer on Russia. She worked with her counterpart at Britain’s MI6 — Steele.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who is leading the impeachment probe as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, wholeheartedly backed the dossier in 2017. He quoted dossier allegations and praised Steele.
Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the committee’s ranking Republican, provided his own dossier narration. He called the dossier “a collection of false allegations attributed to Russian sources claiming that Donald Trump is a Russian agent.”
A Washington Times analysis showed the dossier contained 13 separate, unverified election conspiracy allegations against Trump and his associates.
“Former special counsel Robert Mueller reported in March that he did not establish there was such a conspiracy. His 448-page report contained no information that Trump had any type of informant relationship with Moscow. No Trump ally was charged in a conspiracy,” Scarborough wrote for the Washington Times.