Stefan Halper the University of Cambridge professor identified in multiple media outlets as the alleged FBI informant who made contact with Donald Trump campaign aides during the 2016 presidential election, has long-standing ties to both the CIA and former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.
Halper has been paid over $1 million by the U.S. government from 2012 through 2017, this official government database shows. He praised Hillary Clinton in a Russian news source during the presidential election, saying she would be a better choice for the UK and European Union than Trump. Halper’s father-in-law was a long-time CIA man.
Halper was once caught up in a scandal over allegations that he led an operation within the Reagan campaign to dig up information on Jimmy Carter. In 1983, The New York Times reported that Halper was in charge of “an operation to collect inside information on Carter Administration foreign policy” that was “run in Ronald Reagan’s campaign headquarters in the 1980 presidential campaign.”
Some news outlets did not name Halper, such as The New York Times, but gave details about his background that were so specific that other media sources have named Halper as the alleged informant, whom Trump supporters are referring to as a “plant” or “mole” within the campaign. Heavy is naming Halper because his name has already been widely reported. He has not confirmed that he was an alleged informant, nor have authorities.
Trump has highlighted the informant in tweets without naming him. “I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!” the president wrote.
On May 19, 2018, Trump also wrote, “If the FBI or DOJ was infiltrating a campaign for the benefit of another campaign, that is a really big deal. Only the release or review of documents that the House Intelligence Committee (also, Senate Judiciary) is asking for can give the conclusive answers. Drain the Swamp!”
The DOJ’s Rod Rosenstein then ordered the Inspector General to look into those claims, saying, that if “anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action.”
Who is Stefan Halper?
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Halper, a Professor, Made Contact With Three Trump Campaign Officials During the Election & Has Provided Information to the CIA & FBI for Years, Reports Say
The New York Times described the academic, but didn’t name him, as “an American academic who teaches in Britain” and who “made contact” in summer 2016 with Trump campaign aides Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. Halper is an University of Cambridge Professor with “ties to American and British intelligence,” according to The Washington Times.
“Halper’s sit-downs with Page reportedly started in early July 2016, undermining fired FBI Director James Comey’s previous claim that the bureau’s investigation into the Trump campaign began at the end of that month,” The New York Post reported.
People close to Papadopoulos told NBC that “he has described being summoned to England in September 2016 by Halper, who was offering to pay him to discuss energy issues involving Turkey, Israel and Cyprus, which was his area of expertise.”
Papadopoulos told these sources, according to NBC, “that Halper attended the meetings with his assistant, a young Turkish woman. Papadopoulos said he found Halper’s demeanor odd, and in retrospect believes Halper was working on behalf of an intelligence or law enforcement agency.”
Page told NBC he met Halper several times on his farm but didn’t find it suspicious at the time. He wrote the same on Twitter, saying, “Reporters keep asking me about my interactions with Prof. Halper. I found all our interactions to be cordial. Like this email I received about a year after I first met him. He never seemed suspicious. Just a few scholars exchanging ideas. He had interests in policy, and politics.”
An email that Page posted was written by Halper to him in 2017 – after Trump was already president. Page said on Fox News that he was giving Halper the benefit of the doubt until more confirmation comes out.
The Washington Post reported that the professor (whom the Post didn’t name) approached Carter Page at a symposium in England in mid-July 2016. The Post described him as a “longtime U.S. intelligence source.” According to The Post, “the source in question engaged in a months-long pattern of seeking out and meeting three different Trump campaign officials.”
The Post reported that the professor also met Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis “for coffee in Northern Virginia, offering to provide foreign-policy expertise to the Trump effort.” According to the Post, he invited Papadopoulos to “London to work on a research paper.”
“For years, the professor has provided information to the FBI and the CIA,” reports The Post.
The FBI “formally opened its counterintelligence investigation” into possible Russia collusion on July 31, 2016, the Post reported, after Papadopoulos “boasted to an Australian diplomat” that he knew Russia had information damaging to Hillary Clinton. As for Page, The Post reports he’d been on the “FBI’s radar since at least 2013” because the FBI heard Russian spies “discussing their attempts to recruit him” on a wiretap.
Halper has been a professor at Cambridge in the Department of Politics and International Studies as Director of American Studies since 2001, according to the Institute for World Politics.
Stefan Halper “was appointed Senior Fellow at the Centre of International Studies and Director of The American Studies Programme in 2001. Professor Halper lectures on latter 20th and early 21st Century U.S. foreign policy, US-China relations, China in the World, Anglo-American relations, and contemporary international security issues,” the bio reads.
During March 2016, Sputnik News reported that Halper believed “The victory of Hillary Clinton, who is more experienced and predictable than her Republican rival Donald Trump, in the US presidential elections will be more beneficial for the US-UK relations.”
The exact quote per Sputnik News, which is controlled by the Russian government, reads, “I believe [Hillary] Clinton would be best for US-UK relations and for relations with the European Union. Clinton is well-known, deeply experienced and predictable. US-UK relations will remain steady regardless of the winner although Clinton will be less disruptive over time.”
2. Halper’s Father-in-Law, Ray Cline, Worked for the CIA During the Cuban Missile Crisis & Halper Advised George H.W. Bush’s Presidential Campaign
Stefan Halper has a strong connection to the Central Intelligence Agency through his father-in-law, Ray Cline.
A 1980 story in The Washington Post mentions Cline. It says that the intelligence community was strongly supporting the then-presidential campaign of George H.W. Bush, who had been CIA director. One of those people was identified as Ray Cline, the father-in-law of Stefan Halper and a legendary figure within intelligence circles. “One top foreign policy and defense adviser is Ray Cline, a former deputy director of the CIA and director of intelligence and research at the State Department,” The Post reported.
Bush ran for president that year but withdrew during the primaries, and Ronald Reagan became the party’s nominee and eventual victor; George H.W. Bush then served as Reagan’s vice president.
The Post reported at the time that Cline, who was “director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University, had been delivering pro-CIA lectures on college campuses and elsewhere since 1973 when he left the government in disgust ‘over what they were doing to the intelligence agencies.’” He was heckled at many of the stops, according to The Post.
The article says that Cline recommended Stefan Halper “a former Nixon White House aide, be hired as Bush’s director of policy development and research.”
NBC News reports that Cline “was the chief CIA analyst during the Cuban missile crisis.”
According to a book on the Iran-Contra scandal, Cline’s other son-in-law Roger Fontaine “made at least two visits to Guatemala in 1980 … (with General Sumner) drafting the May 1980 Santa Fe Statement, which said that World War III was already underway in Central America against the Soviets and that Nicauragua was the enemy.” The book alleges that some former Reagan aides felt that Halper “was receiving information from the CIA.”
Palmer National Bank, where Halper worked for a time, was described in one book as “the DC hub by which Lt. Col. Oliver North sent arms and money to the anti-Sandinista guerrilla Contras in Nicaragua. One of Palmer’s founders, Stefan Halper, had no previous banking experience but was George H.W. Bush’s foreign policy director during Bush’s unsuccessful 1980 presidential campaign.” The book describes Halper as an “accomplished political operative.”
Halper was on the board of directors of the National Intelligence Center alongside Ray Cline in the early 1980s.
Cline died at age 77 in 1996. Cline’s obituary in The New York Times said he was survived by his wife of 54 years, Marjorie Wilson, and two daughters Sibyl MacKenzie and Judith Fontaine, of Arlington, Virginia. The obituary describes Cline as “the Central Intelligence Agency’s chief analyst during the Cuban missile crisis and in retirement a fierce defender of the agency.”
3. Halper Was Accused of Being in Charge of a Reagan Operation Digging Up Information on Jimmy Carter & Received Over $1 Million in Contracts With the U.S. Government
The operation into Jimmy Carter was described as “highly secretive” and involving a “number of retired Central Intelligence Agency officials,” The New York Times reported at the time.
“The sources identified Stefan A. Halper, a campaign aide involved in providing 24-hour news updates and policy ideas to the traveling Reagan party, as the person in charge,” according to the 1983 Times article. Halper adamantly denied the accusations, telling UPI, “I never knew or talked to anyone in the Carter White House, the Carter administration or the Carter campaign throughout the course of the campaign and I never asked anybody to talk to anybody from the Carter camp or to get any information.”
The newspaper identified Halper as “until recently deputy director of the State Department’s Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs and now chairman of the Palmer National Bank in Washington.”
Cline told the newspaper that the story was “romantic fallacy” and rejected any theories about “an old CIA network.” The Times reported there was already a “furor over revelations that Reagan campaign officials came into possession of Carter debate strategy papers” before the debate.
A Reagan campaign aide told the Times of Halper that “people talked about his having a network that was keeping track of things inside the Government, mostly in relation to the October surprise.” The same article said that Halper worked “closely with David R. Gergen on the staff of George Bush.” James A. Baker and Gergen were responsible for bringing Halper into the campaign, the story reports.
The old UPI article also contains this paragraph: “The former campaign official said the next step in the strategy would be to attempt to establish that the Carter campaign materials reached the Reagan camp through the vice presidential campaign staff of George Bush — who was CIA director under President Ford.”
In totality, Stefan Halper has ties to three Republican administrations. “The American-born academic previously served in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations,” reports The New York Post. Halper is 73-years-old.
However, he also received a lot of money from the U.S. government during the Obama administration.
NBC News reports that Halper has worked as “a paid consultant to an internal Pentagon think tank known as the Office of Net Assessment, consulting on Russia and China issues.” According to Gov.Tribe, Halper has been paid in recent years by the federal government for things including a Russa/China relationship study. Some of the money came from “defense agencies.” Other large payments date back to 2012. According to an official U.S. government database, contracts with Stefan Halper from 2012 through 2017 total $1,058,160.
Some of the contracts are coded as “SPECIAL STUDIES/ANALYSIS- FOREIGN/NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY” and others as “SUPPORT- PROFESSIONAL: OTHER.”
4. Halper Worked in Republican Administrations & for the Campaigns of Reagan & Bush Sr.
The Institute for World Politics’ biography reports that Halper served from 1971 to 1977 in the Nixon and Ford administrations. Among the positions he has held include the White House Domestic Counsel; assistant director of the White House Office of Management and Budget; and Assistant to the White House Chief of Staff.
He also served as “Legislative Assistant to Senator William Roth (R-Del.) and Special Counsel to the Joint Economic Committee” and was the national director for policy development for George H.W. Bush’s presidential campaign from 1979-80 and national director of policy coordination for the Reagan-Bush presidential campaign in 1980.
Halper also served in the 1980s as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs. His portfolio “included China-US relations, Taiwan, non-proliferation, technology transfer, unconventional warfare,” the bio reads.
He spent six years working for three prominent banks in the 1980s. From 1984 through 2001, he served as “Senior Advisor to the Department of Defense and a Senior Advisor to the Department of Justice,” the bio reads. He was a distinguished fellow at the Nixon Center, wrote a newspaper column, and wrote a research document into the Iraq War, according to the biography, which says he was educated at Stanford University and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The site says that Halper graduated from Oxford in 1971 with a doctor of Philosophy. (Bill Clinton was at Oxford from 1968 through spring 1970.)
In December 2016, The Telegraph reported, Halper was one of several academics who “unexpectedly resigned from their positions at the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar (CIS), an academic forum on the Western spy world.” His reason for stepping down? “Unacceptable Russian influence” on the group, according to UK Telegraph.
According to The Telegraph, the group “was set up by official MI5 historian Professor Christopher Andrew” and holds seminars that previously were attended by Michael Flynn, among others. The concern about Russia derives from claims that a digital publishing host covering some of the group’s costs “may be acting as a front for the Russian intelligence services,” Telegraph reports.
5. The FBI Operation Was Dubbed ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ & Halper Is an Author
The New York Times reported that “FBI agents sent an informant to talk to two campaign advisers only after they received evidence that the pair had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign.”
Papadopoulous pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI last year, and a federal surveillance warrant into Page has caused great controversy because of revelations that it was at least in part obtained through an unverified and salacious dossier funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee through a law firm and research firm. That dossier was compiled by a former member of British intelligence named Christopher Steele.
Republicans in Congress have demanded that the FBI turn over documents about the informant, but the officials have refused.
The Times reports that the operation was called Crossfire Hurricane and was launched after the FBI learned information that Papadopoulos “was told that Moscow had compromising information on (Hillary) Clinton in the forms of ‘thousands of emails’” before WikiLeaks released hacked emails. The FBI also started investigating Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, ,who later became his National Security adviser.
Halper is the author of several books, including America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order, The Silence of the Rational Centre: Why American Foreign Policy is Failing, and The Beijing Consensus: Legitimizing Authoritarianism in our Time.