- The Duran Quick Take: Episode 287.
The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the unfolding case against Cambridge professor and reported FBI spy Stefan Halper, who is being sued by Russian-born academic, Svetlana Lokhova, for allegedly smearing her and former national security adviser Michael Flynn as part of a government conspiracy to bring down the Trump administration.
Halper declared in a recent court filing that he is entitled to legal immunity ordinarily afforded to federal agents, even if Lokhova’s lawsuit allegations are true. This filing has Halper indirectly admitting to being an FBI spy.
“Private individuals who participate in FBI investigations are subject to the federal common law qualified immunity applicable to government agents,” as well as constitutional protections, Halper’s motion to dismiss asserted.
Shortly after Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn joined the presidential campaign of Donald Trump in February of 2016, someone began contacting reporters spinning a tale about having seen General Flynn being courted by a female Russian spy. This person alleged to several media reporters that he suspected Flynn had been successfully compromised by the Putin government.
Sveltana Lokhova is a lecturer and author at Cambridge who specializes in Soviet intelligence studies who ended up being dragged against her will into the center of one of the biggest political scandals of all time.
The person responsible for dragging Lokhova into the middle of this scandal is Professor Stefan Halper, once a fellow academic at Cambridge, now retired.
Unlike with Professor Joseph Mifsud, where strident denials are made that he was working for the FBI to entrap Trump campaign personnel, there’s no question that Halper is a Western intelligence asset.
In fact, Halper was so much of a Western intelligence asset that a whistleblower received retaliation for questioning his seemingly over-generous contracts with the US government.
According to multiple news reports for which we now know Halper was an anonymous source, Flynn attended an intelligence conference in London in 2014 where Lokhova and Halper were also present. That conference was followed by a private dinner, which—and this is going to be important to remember—Flynn, Lokhova, Sir Richard Dearlove (former head of MI6) and Dan O’Brien (Defense Intelligence Agency [DIA] UK liaison) all attended, but Halper did not. It’s important to stress this—Halper was not present at this dinner.
Halper’s story is that he suspected his fellow Cambridge academic was a Russian agent and so he was “alarmed” at hearing from others about her supposed interactions with Flynn at this private dinner.
So disturbed was Halper by what he was told about how chummy Lokhova got with Flynn that he waited for two years, until Flynn had joined the Trump campaign, to begin calling up reporters to anonymously spread his story.
The real fact of the matter is that Lokhova met Flynn and had interactions with him exactly once–at this aforementioned private dinner.
Also, many of these slanderous media reports get basic facts of what happened at this dinner completely wrong.
1. It’s claimed that Lokhova sat next to Flynn when she did not. She has made public a picture she herself took at the dinner that shows General Flynn on the opposite side of the table from her.
2. It was reported by many media outlets that Flynn did not clear his attendance at the conference or the private dinner with the DIA. In fact, not only was Flynn’s participation known about and cleared beforehand, O’Brien, head of the DIA’s UK liaison office, was also attending. So the allegation that the DIA didn’t know about any of this is absurd on its face.
3. It was reported that Lokhova left the dinner with Flynn. That claim is 100 percent false. Lokhova stated she has never been alone with Flynn and her subsequent contact with Flynn was limited to several emails.
Halper’s fantastic tale boils down to this: he heard from others that the intrepidly fearless Russian spy Lokhova was earnestly trying to put the moves on the head of the DIA at this private dinner in a room full of top intelligence officials that included a former head of MI6.
Somehow Halper, in his stories to reporters and to U.S. authorities, managed to spin this one, single, completely innocent interaction between Flynn and Lokhova into something nefarious that placed both under suspicion.
Was there ever any investigation by the FBI, the CIA, or MI6 into whether Halper’s allegations against Lokhova and Flynn had any merit? I’ve yet to see any evidence of that.
Lokhova has filed a lawsuit against Halper seeking $25 million in damages.
A few days ago, Halper’s defense team filed a motion to dismiss with the court, seeking to get the judge to toss out Lokhova’s lawsuit.
Halper is essentially saying that he’s not admitting he was any kind of government contractor, but if he was, then he would have the same kind of immunity afforded to government agents.
Well this sounds incoherent to me. Either he is not a government agent, as he is talking to the press about Lokhova, or he is. Was he engaging in this slander as a private citizen or in an official capacity as an agent of a government? Which is it?
Let me remind everybody of what I’ve been saying for more than a year now: a real intelligence professional who is doing real intelligence work is not going to leak evidence being used in active investigations to the news media.
Assuming Halper really did believe Lokhova was a Russian agent, why would he be calling media reporters about it? That is not how this kind of thing is handled by an intelligence professional. But this is exactly the kind of thing that a political operative does.
Halper should be ashamed of himself. And so should every member of the news media who let themselves be used to defame two innocent people.
Brian Cates is a political pundit and writer based in South Texas and the author of “Nobody Asked for My Opinion … But Here It Is Anyway!”