Justice Department prosecutor U.S. Attorney John Durham is questioning personnel connected to the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, which awarded multiple contracts to FBI informant Stephan Halper. Halper, who was informing the bureau on Trump campaign advisors, is a central figure in the FBI’s original investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, SaraACarter.com has learned.
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. 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. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, announced to Fox News’ Sean Hannity Wednesday night the lengthy investigative report will be released to the public on Dec., 9.
DOJ 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.
Multiple sources confirmed to this news site 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.
Department of Justice officials declined to comment on Durham’s probe.
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 (FISC) 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’ve 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 this reporter 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.”
Moreover, this news site has learned that the Pentagon has finally sent Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s committee the information it requested in July, regarding Halper’s contracts and the Office of Net Assessment. Grassley sent the request in a letter to Department of Defense Acting Secretary Mark Esper, after a Pentagon Inspector General investigation discovered that the office failed to conduct appropriate oversight of the contracts. Grassley urged Esper for the information.
According to the DoD Inspector General’s report the Office of Net Assessment (ONA) Contracting Officer’s Representatives (CORs) “did not maintain documentation of the work performed by Professor Halper or any communication that ONA personnel had with Professor Halper; therefore, ONA CORs could not provide sufficient documentation that Professor Halper conducted all of his work in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. We determined that while the ONA CORs established a file to maintain documents, they did not maintain sufficient documentation to comply with all the FAR requirements related to having a complete COR.”
Although, Grassley stated that he wanted the information no later than July 25, the Pentagon delivered the information only last week.
Grassley’s office didn’t elaborate on what information was given to the committee but confirmed that it was in the process of reviewing hundreds of pages of documents.
“The committee is currently reviewing information received recently from the Pentagon, in response to Grassley’s request,” said Taylor Foy, a spokesman for the committee. Foy confirmed Grassley is continuing to investigate the matter.
Pentagon officials did not immediately respond to calls and emails. (SaraACarter.com will update this story if they so chose to respond.)
Grassley’s July letter stated that “shockingly, the audit found that these types of discrepancies were not unique to contracts with Professor Halper, which indicates ONA must take immediate steps to shore up its management and oversight of the contracting process.”
“Accordingly, no later than July 25, 2019, please 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,” Grassley’s letter stated. “In addition, I request that ONA provide a briefing to my Committee staff regarding the Halper contracts.”
The 74-year old professor, has rarely spoken out publicly since being outed by The Washington Post, and other news organizations, as one of the informants for the bureau who spied on the Trump campaign. He spent a career developing top-level government connections–not just through academia, as he did in Great Britain through the Cambridge Security Initiative, but through his connections in both the CIA and British MI-6. He is expected to be speaking this month at the seminar, he helped found, according to The Daily Caller.
“The results of this audit are disappointing and illustrate a systemic failure to manage and oversee the contracting process,” stated the Senator in the letter sent July, 12 to the DOD. “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.”
The Office of Net Assessment came under fire in 2016, when Bill Gertz, a columnist for The Washington Times, revealed that it failed to produce the top-secret net assessments the office was established to do for more than a decade, despite its then nearly $20 million annual budget.
In August, a Pentagon Inspector General report revealed that the office failed to document the research Halper had conducted for the Pentagon in four separate studies worth roughly $1 million. The inspector general’s report revealed that loose contracting practices at the office and failed oversight was to blame.