Current and former officials — apparently so fearful that an FBI informant’s identity and role would be outed by congressional Republicans — confirmed both to the New York Times and the Washington Post in an attempt to offer their own narratives first.
Both outlets offered details that readily identify the informant — but do not name him, citing concerns for his safety and warnings from U.S. intelligence officials.
The details, however, match a person described in the Daily Caller as Stefan Halper, a Cambridge professor and longtime Washington, D.C. fixture who worked for three Republican administrations and has links to U.S. and British intelligence.
The Times and Post are the first outlets claiming to have confirmed his identity, and to describe him in such detail as to match the description of Halper.
The accounts also indicate the FBI lied about when they first began surveilling the Trump campaign, or might have done so, without any particular intelligence.
FBI officials have said they began investigating the Trump administration on July 31, 2016, after stolen Democratic National Committee emails were released on July 22, 2016, prompting Australian officials to come forward with information they received from Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos months earlier.
Officials sold this version of events last year to the Times, which wrote on December 31, 2017, in a piece titled “How the Russia Inquiry Began: A Campaign Aide, Drinks and Talk of Political Dirt”:
“…when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts, according to four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians’ role.”
However — the problem with that account is that the FBI informant had approached Trump campaign adviser Carter Page before that email release on July 22, 2016, and before the Australians came forward with the information, supposedly after that.