Pictured: CIA Director Gina Haspel (center) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on January 8, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Gina Haspel is the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Haspel is the first career clandestine service officer to become director, and the first woman. She was the CIA Chief of Station in London -- twice, and that repeat assignment is very unusual. What is most interesting is the timing of Haspel's last tour as London Station Chief -- from 2014 to early 2017. That is the same timeframe (specifically, the late summer of 2016) when the FBI approached foreign policy academic and "utility government operative" Stefan Halper to begin the operation targeting Carter Page and George Papadopoulos in an FBI-designed foreign counterintelligence operation, against Team Trump, to be launched in Cambridge, England.
Nothing speculative here -- the Justice Department Inspector General pegged the exact date of the FBI/Halper meeting as August 10, 2016. Halper had been on contract (again) with the U.S. government since the Iowa Caucuses began in October 2015. For the sake of brevity, I am not discussing Halper's role in targeting former Defense Intelligence Agency Director, Lieutenant General Mike Flynn. That is another column for another day -- and certainly Haspel knows a great deal about that, as well.
The timeframe (2014-2017) matters, because Haspel, as London Station Chief would have been briefed on the FBI's counterintelligence plan before any actions were approved to go forward. The CIA Station Chief is the top intelligence official in any given country. The FBI must inform the Station Chief of what they planned to do and get Station Chief approval. The FBI hates that, but those are the rules. Because the various intelligence agencies are sensitive, they do not use the word "approved." Instead, they use the word "coordinated." Jargon aside, nothing would have happened without Haspel's okay.
Think about this for a while: The current CIA director was an active, knowledgeable party to the efforts to target candidate Trump with a contrived foreign counterintelligence investigation. That carried forward to a more sophisticated and aggressive plan to carry out a soft coup against President Trump. People around President Trump were prosecuted and/or had their lives destroyed based on a scheme of U.S. government lies. Who appears to have been "in on it" from day one? Gina Haspel.
So, when we read in an article by Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, that Haspel is personally resisting the declassification and release of records on "Russiagate," we are not surprised. In fact, we are relieved, because a few of us have been shouting from the mountaintops about Haspel for years, to no avail. The smarmy James Comey is easier to identify and loathe than the elusive Haspel.
For those seeking more information on Haspel, Shane Harris of the Washington Post wrote a nauseating hagiography of Haspel in July 2019. Consistent with WaPo's standards there are several factual errors and loads of opinion masquerading as "tough reporting." Harris (and one assumes Haspel) makes sure readers know that Haspel and company "boils down" presidential intelligence briefings to "a few key points that they think Trump absolutely needs to know." We are supposed to also believe that "Trump favors pictures and graphics over text." Of course, the CIA director's office did not cooperate with Harris. No, not at all.
The FBI is not allowed to penetrate and subvert a presidential campaign. Executive Order 12333, Section 2.9, "Undisclosed Participation in Organizations in the United States," prohibits it in plain language. Historically, the prohibition is a consequence of U.S. Army Counterintelligence penetrating Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at the behest of the FBI during the 1960s -- among other abuses of power and authority. That legal prohibition is the reason the FBI felt the need to manufacture a "foreign counterintelligence threat" in the UK and then "import" the investigation back into the United States.
The FBI plotters needed to establish a foreign counterintelligence "event" to run their operation. The UK was the easiest and operationally safest/friendliest place to pull it off, especially with Stefan Halper's connections to Cambridge. Haspel was clearly fully informed and had "coordinated" the operation. She also enjoyed cordial relationships with MI6 and GCHQ. Now we (largely, but imperfectly) know what transpired. Halper under oath, in public, would fill in a lot of blanks. Gina Haspel, under the same circumstances and conditions, might just complete the puzzle. Should President Trump be reelected, it might just happen. A President Biden guarantees we will never hear another syllable of the rest of the story.
Chris Farrell is a former counterintelligence case officer. For the past 20 years, he has served as the Director of Investigations & Research for Judicial Watch. The views expressed are the author's alone, and not necessarily those of Judicial Watch.