Stefan A. Halper
Halper in 2010
|Born||June 4, 1944|
|Education||Stanford University (BA)|
University of Oxford (PhD)
University of Cambridge (PhD)
Stefan A. Halper (born June 4, 1944) is an American foreign policy scholar and Senior Fellow at the University of Cambridge where he is a Life Fellow at Magdalene College. He served as a White House official in the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations, and was reportedly in charge of the CIA spying operation by the 1980 Ronald Reagan presidential campaign that became known as "Debategate". Through his decades of work for the CIA, Halper has had extensive ties to the Bush family. Through his work with Sir Richard Billing Dearlove he had ties to the British Secret Intelligence Service MI6.
- 1 Education
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Books
- 5 Awards
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Halper graduated from Stanford University in 1967. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford in 1971. He was appointed Director of American Studies at the University of Cambridge's longstanding Department of Politics and International Studies in 2001. He received a second Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 2004.
United States government (1971–1984)
Halper began his United States government career in 1971 in the United States Domestic Policy Council, part of the executive office of the president, serving until 1973. He then served in the office of management and budget until 1974, when he moved to the office of the White House chief of staff as assistant to the chief of staff where he had responsibility for a range of domestic and international issues. During this time, Halper worked as an assistant for three chiefs of staff, Alexander Haig, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney. He held this position until January 20, 1977.
In 1977, Halper became Special Counsel to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and Legislative Assistant to Senator William Roth (R-Del.). In 1979 he became National Policy Director for George H. W. Bush's Presidential campaign and then in 1980 he became Director of Policy Coordination for the Reagan- Bush Presidential campaign.
Halper played a central role in a scandal in the 1980 election. But it was not until several years after Reagan’s victory over Carter that this scandal emerged. In connection with his position Halper's name came up in the 1983/4 investigations into the Debategate affair, which was a spying scandal in which Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials passed classified information about Carter administration’s foreign policy to Reagan campaign officials in order to ensure the Reagan campaign knew of any foreign policy decisions that Carter was considering (Iran hostage crisis). Reagan Administration officials cited by The New York Times described Halper as "the person in charge" of the operation. Halper called the report "just absolutely untrue".
In 1983, the UPI suggested that Halper’s handler for this operation was Reagan’s Vice Presidential candidate, ex-CIA-Director George H. W. Bush, who worked with Halper’s father-in-law, ex-CIA-Deputy-Director Ray Cline. After Reagan entered the White House, Halper became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs. Upon leaving the Department in 1984, he remained a Senior Advisor to the Department of Defense and a Senior Advisor to the Department of Justice until 2001.
From 1984 to 1990 Halper was chairman and majority shareholder of the Palmer National Bank of Washington, D.C., the National Bank of Northern Virginia and the George Washington National Bank. Palmer National Bank was used to transfer money to Swiss Bank Accounts controlled by White House aid Oliver North.
According to Peter Dale Scott's book The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in Reagan Era on the Iran-Contra scandal, Ray Cline's son-in-law Roger Fontaine "made at least two visits to Guatemala in 1980... (with General Sumner) drafting the May 1980 Santa Fe Statement, which said that World War III was already underway in Central America against the Soviets and that Nicauragua was the enemy. And some Reagan aides felt that Halper "was receiving information from the CIA."
The Palmer National Bank, where Halper worked, was described as "the DC hub by which Lt. Col. Oliver North sent arms and money to the anti-Sandinista guerrilla Contras in Nicaragua. One of Palmer’s founders, Stefan Halper, had no previous banking experience but was George H.W. Bush’s foreign policy director during Bush’s unsuccessful 1980 presidential campaign.” 
Academic and media (1986–2000)
From 1986 to 2000 Halper wrote a national security and foreign policy-focused weekly newspaper column, syndicated to 30 newspapers.
Halper has worked as a senior foreign policy advisor to various think-tanks and research institutions, including the Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Center for the National Interest, where he is a Distinguished Fellow, and The Institute of World Politics where he is a Research Professor. He has served on the Advisory Board of Directors of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and contributed to various magazines, journals, newspapers and media outlets. These include: The National Interest, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, the BBC, CNN, SKY NEWS, ABC, CBS, NBC, C-Span, and a range of radio outlets.
In a 2007 book, The Silence of the Rational Center, Halper analyzed "institutional failures" in United States policy-making:
"Three times since World War II, Big Ideas have seized the political discourse and driven policy experts to the sidelines: during the Red Scare of the early Cold War; during the entry to the Vietnam War, with its talk off democracy and dominos; and at the onset of the Iraq War. Each time, framing concepts rooted in Big Ideas turned complex foreign policy challenges into undifferentiated, apocalyptic threats to the nation's very existence. Professionals and area experts were excluded from the debate if they diverged from the patriotic consensus, and the mainstream institutions and publications that could have opposed the rush to simplification were either silent or instead provided an echo chamber for the dominant narrative."
Russian Berlin-based journalist Leonid Bershidsky wrote in May 2018, that "the Trump-Russia scandal born of this operation [FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign] could be added to The Silence of the Rational Center as a fourth institutional failure."
United States government research (2012–2016)
From 2012 to 2016 Halper received $1 million in contracts for “social sciences and humanities” research from the Defense department's Office of Net Assessment, some of which Halper subcontracted to other researchers. Forty percent of the money had been awarded before Trump announced his candidacy in 2015.
FBI Operation ‘Crossfire Hurricane’
Halper acted as an FBI informant for Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, and was a subject of the Spygate conspiracy theory initiated by President Donald Trump in May 2018. The theory alleges that the Obama administration planted a paid spy in the 2016 Trump campaign “for political purposes” to gather information in support of Hillary Clinton's candidacy. Beginning in summer 2016, Halper spoke separately to three Trump campaign advisers – Carter Page, Sam Clovis and George Papadopoulos – but there is no evidence that Halper had actually joined Trump's campaign.
Page said that he "had extensive discussions" with Halper on "a bunch of different foreign-policy-related topics", ending in September 2017. A former federal law enforcement official told The New York Times that their initial encounter at a London symposium on July 11–12, 2016 was a coincidence, rather than at the direction of the FBI. Clovis's attorney said that Clovis and Halper had discussed China during their sole meeting on August 31 or September 1, 2016. On September 2, 2016, Halper contacted Papadopoulos, inviting him to London and to write a paper on Mediterranean oil fields, which he did. On September 15, 2016, Halper asked Papadopoulos if he knew of any Russian efforts to disrupt the election campaign; Papadopoulos twice denied he did, despite Joseph Mifsud telling him the previous April that Russians had embarrassing Hillary Clinton emails, and Papadopoulos bragging about it to Alexander Downer in May. The New York Times reported in April 2019 that the FBI had asked Halper to approach Page and Papadopoulos, although it was not clear if he had been asked to contact Clovis. In May 2019, the Times reported that Page had urged Halper to meet with Clovis and that the FBI was aware of the meeting but had not instructed Halper to ask Clovis about Russia matters. The Times also reported that the FBI also sent an investigator using the name Azra Turk to meet with Papadopoulos, while posing as Halper's assistant. The Times stated that the FBI considered it essential to add a trained and trusted investigator like Turk as a "layer of oversight", in the event the investigation was ultimately prosecuted and the government needed the credible testimony of such an individual, without exposing Halper as a longtime confidential informant.
Trump’s Spygate allegations were thoroughly debunked, despite renewed interest in April 2019 after attorney general William Barr testified to Congress that “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign, although his characterization of “spying” was ambiguous and he declined to be specific. He stated he was assembling a team to examine the matter, although the Justice Department inspector general had been looking into it and related matters for some time and was expected to release his report within weeks. Prior to his 2016 activities, Halper had a February 2014 encounter at a London intelligence conference with Michael Flynn, then the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and later a Trump supporter and first national security advisor. Harper became so alarmed by Flynn’s close association with a Russian woman that a Halper associate expressed concerns to American authorities that Flynn may have been compromised by Russian intelligence. Flynn was forced out of the DIA six months later, although public accounts at the time cited other reasons for his removal, including his management style and views on Islam. The "Russian" woman, former Cambridge academic Svetlana Lokhova, sued Halper in 2019 for $25 million, alleging he had conspired with multiple news outlets to spread the false and salacious narrative that she had seduced Flynn on orders from the Russian government. 
Consideration for Trump administration role
He is the co-author of the bestselling book America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order, published by the Cambridge University Press in 2004, and also co-author of The Silence of the Rational Center: Why American Foreign Policy is Failing (2007). In April 2010, his book The Beijing Consensus: Legitimizing Authoritarianism in Our Time was published by Basic Books. Also a bestseller, it has been published in Japan, Taiwan, China, South Korea, and France.
Halper is a recipient of the State Department's Superior Honor Award, the Justice Department's Director's Award, and the Defense Department's Superior Honor Award.
- "Prof Stefan Halper". The Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS). University of Cambridge. Archived from the original on December 5, 2013.
- Greenwald, Glenn (May 19, 2018). "The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper, Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election". The Intercept. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
- Harnden, Toby (May 20, 2018). "Cambridge don Stefan Halper named in Donald Trump spy row". The Times. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
- Porter, Tom (May 20, 2018). "Who is Stefan Halper? Cambridge professor named as FBI's Russia probe secret source". Newsweek. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
- Clarke, Robert Costa; Leonnig, Carol D.; Harris, Shane (May 21, 2018). "Who is Stefan A. Halper, the FBI source who assisted the Russia investigation?". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 22, 2018. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
- "Stefan Halper". The Institute of World Politics.
- Gelb, Leslie H. (July 7, 1983). "REAGAN AIDES DESCRIBE OPERATION TO GATHER INSIDE DATA ON CARTER". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
- Gelb, Leslie H. (July 7, 1983). "Reagan Aides Describe Operation to Gather Inside Data on Carter". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
An operation to collect inside information on Carter Administration foreign policy was run in Ronald Reagan's campaign headquarters in the 1980 Presidential campaign, according to present and former Reagan Administration officials. ... The sources identified Stefan A. Halper, a campaign aide involved in providing 24-hour news updates and policy ideas to the traveling Reagan party, as the person in charge. Mr. Halper, until recently deputy director of the State Department's Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs and now chairman of the Palmer National Bank in Washington, was out of town today and could not be reached. But Ray S. Cline, his father-in-law, a former senior Central Intelligence official, rejected the account as a romantic fallacy.
- Lesar, Jack (July 7, 1983). "A former Ronald Reagan campaign official charged Thursday administration ..." United Press International.
- Gelb, Leslie H.; Times, Special to The New York (July 7, 1983). "Reagan Aides Describe Operation to Gather Inside Data on Carter" – via NYTimes.com.
- Pizzo, Stephen; Fricker, Mary; Muolo, Paul (September 29, 2015). Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans. Open Road Media. ISBN 978-0070502307.
- Peter Dale Scott: The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Eravon Jonathan Marshall, page 250
- Patricia Goldstone: Interlock. Art, Conspiracy, and the Shadow Worlds of Mark Lombardi, page 120
- Bershidsky, Leonid (May 22, 2018). "Wisdom on Trump-Russia From an FBI Asset". Bloomberg L.P.
- "Who is Stefan A. Halper, the FBI source who assisted the Russia investigation?". Washington Post.
- "Analysis | How the FBI informant's outreach to Trump staffers fits into overall investigation". Washington Post.
- Fandos, Nicholas; Goldman, Adam (April 10, 2019). "Barr Asserts Intelligence Agencies Spied on the Trump Campaign" – via NYTimes.com.
- Goldman, Adam; Savage, Charlie (April 9, 2019). "Justice Dept. Watchdog's Review of Russia Inquiry Is Nearly Done, Barr Says" – via NYTimes.com.
- Goldman, Adam; Schmidt, Michael S.; Mazzetti, Mark (May 2, 2019). "F.B.I. Sent Investigator Posing as Assistant to Meet With Trump Aide in 2016" – via NYTimes.com.
- Kessler, Glenn. "Trump's 'spygate' claim is latest off-target salvo at Russia probe". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
- Goldman, Adam; Mazzetti, Mark; Rosenberg, Matthew (May 18, 2018). "F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims" – via NYTimes.com.
- Gerstein, Josh (May 24, 2019). "Intelligence scholar sues Cambridge academic, U.S. news outlets over reports on Flynn links" – via Politico.com.
- "Exclusive: Peter Navarro pushed Stefan Halper for Trump job". Axios.