Punished whistleblower who flagged FBI informant -Trump spy, gets backup
The watchdog group Judicial Watch is suing the Department of Defense on behalf of a Pentagon analyst who said he was stripped of his security clearance after raising concerns about contracts given to Stefan Halper, the FBI informant who spied on the Trump campaign.
Adam Lovinger, a former analyst at the Office of Net Assessment (ONA), the Pentagon’s internal think tank, had filed public records requests seeking information about the Pentagon’s decision to strip him of his security clearance in May 2017.
Months earlier, Lovinger, a 12-year veteran of ONA, had filed a complaint with his boss, ONA Director James Baker, about contracts that went to Halper as well as to a firm called Long Term Strategic Group, a consulting company owned by Clinton friend Jacqueline Newmeyer Deal.
Lovinger, who filed a whistleblower complaint in September 2017, claims that he was stripped of his security clearance because of his complaints about the contracts. In an October 2016 email to Baker, Lovinger raised concerns about “the moral hazard associated with the Washington Headquarters Services contracting with Stefan Halper.”
Halper was paid over $1 million from 2012 through March of this year to conduct studies on several geopolitical hotspots, including China, India and Russia.
Halper, a former University of Cambridge professor with deep ties to the CIA and MI6, made contact with at least three Trump campaign advisers, Carter Page, Sam Clovis and George Papadopoulos, as part of the investigation into possible collusion between the campaign and Russian government.
On Sept. 2, 2016, Halper reached out to campaign aide George Papadopoulos with an offer of $3,000 and a trip to London to write an academic paper about energy issues in the Mediterranean Sea.
Papadopoulos accepted the offer and met Halper in London. He has told associates that Halper randomly asked whether he had knowledge about Russian efforts to hack Democrats’ emails.
The Judicial Watch lawsuit seeks emails and other documents that Lovinger sought from Pentagon officials who handled his security clearance case.
Lovinger, who was working with the National Security Council when he was stripped of his security clearance, filed a Privacy Act request with the Defense Department in December 2017 seeking emails mentioning his name exchanged by several Defense Department officials, including Edward Fish, the director of the Consolidated Adjudications Facility — the office that handles security clearances for the Pentagon.
According to Judicial Watch, the Defense Department told Lovinger in March of this year that it was withholding 75 pages of documents responsive to his Private Act and Freedom of Information Act request.
Judicial Watch says that Fish, who was a part to Lovinger’s whistleblower complaint, was the Defense Department official who determined that documents should be withheld from Lovinger.
The Defense Department has not responded to an appeal filed by Lovinger in April.
“Mr. Lovinger was targeted because he blew the whistle on Stefan Halper and a Clinton crony getting suspicious Defense contracts,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “It is disturbing that the Defense Department may now be implicated in Spygate targeting of President Trump.”
Lovinger’s attorney, Sean Bigley, told The Daily Caller News Foundation last week that in addition to questions about ONA’s payments to Halper, Lovinger is alleging that ONA improperly used Halper to make contact with foreign government officials.
Bigley also said that Halper’s work for ONA could have provided “the perfect cover” for his side work as an FBI informant.
“It would be entirely logical for him to approach somebody like [Papadopoulos] and ask for that type of work product,” Bigley said.