The Federalist has learned that the now-outed CIA and FBI informant Stefan Halper served as a source for Washington Post reporter David Ignatius, providing more evidence that the intelligence community has co-opted the press to push anti-Trump conspiracy theories. In addition, an email recently obtained by The Federalist from the MI5-connected Christopher Andrew bragging that his long-time friend Ignatius has the “‘inside track’ on Flynn” adds further confirmation of this conclusion.
Svetlana Lokhova, the Russian-born English citizen and Soviet-era scholar, told The Federalist that she only realized the significance of her communications with and about Ignatius following the filing of attorney Sidney Powell’s reply brief in the Michael Flynn case.
In last week’s court filing, Powell highlighted how the CIA, FBI, Halper, and possibly James Baker used the unnamed and unaware Lokhova and the complicit Ignatius to destroy Flynn. This James Baker is not the one who worked under James Comey at the FBI, but a James Baker in the Department of Defense Office of National Assessment.
Stefan Halper is a known long-time operative for the CIA/FBI. He was paid exorbitant sums by the FBI/CIA/DOD through the Department of Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment in 2016. His tasks seem to have included slandering Mr. Flynn with accusations of having an affair with a young professor (a British national of Russian descent) Flynn met at an official dinner at Cambridge University when he was head of DIA in 2014. Flynn has requested the records of Col. James Baker because he was Halper’s ‘handler’ in the Office of Net Assessment in the Pentagon, and ONA Director Baker regularly lunched with Washington Post Reporter David Ignatius. Baker is believed to be the person who illegally leaked the transcript of Mr. Flynn’s calls to Ignatius. The defense has requested the phone records of James Clapper to confirm his contacts with Washington Post reporter Ignatius—especially on January 10, 2017, when Clapper told Ignatius in words to the effect of ‘take the kill shot on Flynn.’ It cannot escape mention that the press has long had transcripts of the Kislyak calls that the government has denied to the defense.
Lokhova has known of Halper’s role in targeting Flynn since Halper was outed as a CIA and FBI informant in May 2018. She then sued Halper and several media outlets for defamation after they falsely repeated Halper’s lies that she was a Russian spy engaged in an intrigue with Flynn.
This honey pot storyline originated with Lokhova’s mentor at Cambridge, the official MI5 historian, Professor Christopher Andrew, when on February 19, 2017, Andrew penned an article for the London Sunday Times, “Impulsive General Misha Shoots Himself in the Foot.” That article portrayed the unnamed Lokhova’s brief meeting with Flynn during a dinner event two years prior at Cambridge as the beginning of a compromising relationship between Flynn and a Russian spy.
Andrew’s article later served as the second confirmation needed for outlets like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post to run stories about Flynn and a supposed Russian spy. But before those pieces hit the press, Lokhova remained in the dark about the media’s interest in her.
“Halper had been pushing the story that I was a Russian spy and Flynn’s mistress since December of 2016,” Lokhova told me. “The New York Times’ Mathew Rosenberg told me a source had been circulating these stories since December 2016,” Lokhova said, “but they held the story until they could find a second source and someone at the Cambridge dinner.”
In his book “The Plot Against the President,” Lee Smith confirms that the story about a Flynn-Lokhova intrigue was circulated to the press starting in December 2016.
But it wasn’t until the Wall Street Journal published its March 17, 2017, article suggesting she had inappropriate contacts with Flynn that Lokhova discovered the earlier article Andrew had written about her for the Sunday Times, Lokhova said. Before then, within days of February 28, 2017, several journalists reached out to her for comment, including two working for the Wall Street Journal, but Lokhova didn’t know why.
She also didn’t comprehend who the inquiring journalists were at the time. That remained true even after her mentor and unknown betrayer, Andrew, wrote Lokhova telling her that “David Ignatius of Washington Post is in UK at moment. I’ve known him for years and trust him. I’ve given him your email and he accepts that if you don’t wish to respond, that an end to it.”
Then, significantly, Andrew noted that “Flynn’;s [sic] career for years past is obviously going to continue to be investigated. David has an inside track on that which I think he’d share with you if you’re interested.”
What “inside track” Andrew meant is unknown—and when asked what his “inside track” on Flynn was, Ignatius did not respond—but his note came a mere month after Ignatius reported the illegally leaked details of Flynn’s conversation with the Russian ambassador, which eventually led to Flynn’s firing.
Ignatius’ introductory email to Lokhova also proves informative, with the long-time Washington Post journalist branding the MI5-connected Andrew “my friend,” and stressing that Andrew invited him “to speak to his seminar a dozen years ago.”
Lokhova did not talk to Ignatius at the time, but her partner, David North, later forwarded Ignatius an email he had sent to the Wall Street Journal on March 1 2017, making clear that Lokhova had no relationship with Flynn, having “met General Flynn on only one occasion at a dinner in Cambridge in February 2014. The dinner was attended by upwards of a dozen people, and she had a twenty-minute public conversation with General Flynn and others. They have not met or spoke since then.”
Nonetheless, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about Flynn meeting Lokhova at Cambridge, and for that she is now suing the media mogul for defamation.
When the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets picked up on the story, Lokhova also did not know Halper’s role in the rumor-mongering. “I had known Halper at Cambridge,” Lokhova told me for a previous story, “but he was just a boring old academic. I couldn’t see why he was painting me as a Russian spy until Halper was exposed as an informant. Then the pieces all fit together.”
After Halper was outed as a CIA and FBI informant in May 2018, Lokhova contacted Ignatius. In an email recently obtained by The Federalist, Ignatius replied to Lokhova that he’d “like very much to ask you about Stefan Halper.” When they spoke, Lokhova registered surprise about Halper’s role. That prompted Ignatius to say “he always found Halper reliable as a source,” Lokhova told me. “When I said ‘Wow, he was your source,’ Ignatius hung up. We never spoke again.” Ignatius also did not respond to questions about his use of Halper as a source.
These close connections between the Washington Post’s Ignatius and individuals connected to the American and British intelligence communities, and the false reporting that has taken place over the last three-plus years, raise grave concerns that the warfare of the soft coup aimed at President Trump includes using the media to push propaganda.
Margot Cleveland is a senior contributor to The Federalist. Cleveland served nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk to a federal appellate judge and is a former full-time faculty member and current adjunct instructor at the college of business at the University of Notre Dame.
The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.
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