Sunday, December 1, 2019

Of Whistleblowers And The Office Of Net Assessment

During the past month I've twice written about DoD's Office of Net Assessment (ONA). These mentions have been in the overall context of the Michael Flynn aspect of the Russia Hoax. It's long been known that Stefan Halper, the CIA/FBI operative who was used to smear Michael Flynn as a Russian agent with false accusations that Flynn had had an affair with a Russian emigre professor in England, has had a relationship with ONA. Those who follow intel matters have also had ONA on their radar for a number of years. What really shook things loose was the bombshell that Sidney Powell, Flynn's attorney, set off in one of her recent filings, which I quoted in Can't Recommend Highly Enough:

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.

The Col. James Baker in question here is James H. Baker--not the James A. Baker who was General Counsel for the FBI under disgraced former FBI Director James Comey. In the linked blog I provide a link to an article by Margot Cleveland that provides all the detail you could desire regarding the whole sordid plot to smear and frame both Flynn and the Russian professor--Svetlana Lokhova. You've no doubt read about it, but Cleveland's article is a handy reference. I concluded my blog:

So, David Ignatius at WaPo has been completely exposed [by Sidney Powell] as a Deep State operative. Next question: Who are the other journos who will be exposed? We need to know all of that.
ADDENDUM: Nothing could be more clear at this point than this: The Russia Hoax never could have happened without massive, near total, complicity on the part of the MSM with the Deep State of federal Intel-related agencies. NYT, WaPo, CNN, DoS, CIA, FBI, DoJ, NSC--that's a beginning of your Russia Hoax alphabet soup. And of course we can now add in SSCI and assorted other Congressional actors as well as the top levels of the military--especially including McMaster.
Hatchet job? Barr needs a chain saw.

More recently in Looks Like Durham's Doing A Deep Dive On The Deep State I looked at reports that John Durham's interest in Stefan Halper has apparently led him to target ONA:

Apparently ONA was used to launder payments to high level, or supposedly high level, CIA operatives. Like Stefan Halper, who was paid over a million dollars by the Obama administration through ONA for doing only God knows what.
This could signal a major expansion of Durham's investigation, as [Sara] Carter suggests: Durham Probe Expands to Pentagon Office That Contracted FBI Spy Stephan Halper, although "FBI spy" is probably not the most accurate characterization. I suspect Halper was more or less on loan to the FBI. Here's what Carter's sources have told her:
     Justice Department prosecutor U.S. Attorney John Durham is questioning personnel connected to the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, which awarded multiple contracts to FBI informant Stephan Halper. Halper, who was informing the bureau on Trump campaign advisors, is a central figure in the FBI’s original investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, has learned.
     These latest developments reveal the expansive nature of what is now a Justice Department criminal probe into the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign. ... 
     Multiple sources confirmed to this news site that Durham has spoken extensively with sources working in the Office of Net Assessment, as well as outside contractors, that were paid through Pentagon office. 
Senator Chuck Grassley is also in on the action. Grassley now heads the Senate Finance Committee, which has learned that--get ready for this--ONA kept sloppy records about their payments. As if a money laundering operation for CIA sources would keep in depth and accurate records!

That ONA is a an Intel Community slush fund cum money laundering operation is actually not exactly news:

     The Office of Net Assessment came under fire in 2016, when Bill Gertz, a columnist for The Washington Times, revealed that it failed to produce the top-secret net assessments the office was established to do for more than a decade, despite its then nearly $20 million annual budget. 
     In August, a Pentagon Inspector General report revealed that the office failed to document the research Halper had conducted for the Pentagon in four separate studies worth roughly $1 million. The inspector general’s report revealed that loose contracting practices at the office and failed oversight was to blame.

"Loose contracting practices." How's that for a euphemism? This could be fun.
ADDENDUM: Here's a good recent article re Halper and ONA, by Eric Felten: The Labyrinthine Ways and Wages of Stefan Halper. Felten's article is both informative and hilarious. There's lots more out there on this topic.

This morning--sparked by a twitter thread by Mr. Dirt--I got around to searching my emails for references to "Adam Lovinger" and ONA. Sure enough, I found that over two years ago I'd sent an article by Richard Pollock from the Daily Caller that provides lots of information on how ONA has been run, on James H. Baker and Stefan Halper, and also on how real whistleblowers are treated by the Intel Community--Chelsea’s ‘Best Friend’ Wins $11 Mil In Defense Contracts With No Clearance. Here are some excerpts to whet your appetite for the full article:

A company whose president is “best friends” with Chelsea Clinton received more than $11 million in contracts over the last decade from a highly secretive Department of Defense think tank, but to date, the group lacks official federal approval to handle classified materials, according to sensitive documents The DCNF was allowed to review. 
Jacqueline Newmyer, the president of a company called the Long Term Strategy Group, has over the last 10 years received numerous Defense Department contracts from a secretive think tank called Office of Net Assessment. 
The Office of Net Assessment is so sensitive, the specialized think tank is housed in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and reports directly to the secretary. 
Adam Lovinger, a whistleblower and 12-year Office of Net Assessment (ONA) veteran, has repeatedly warned ONA’s leadership they faced risks by relying on outside contractors as well as the problem of cronyism and a growing “revolving door” policy, where ONA employees would leave the defense think tank and join private contractors to do the same work. 
Others outside ONA have drawn similar conclusions about the office’s reliance on outside contractors. USA Today complained in August 2013 that the same set of contractors never seem to leave ONA: “While Democratic and Republican administrations come and go, ONA and its team of outside advisers remains the same. Contract records show the office relies on studies from outside contractors.” 
Clinton and Newmyer first met each other while attending Sidwell Friends School, an exclusive private Quaker school in the nation’s capital. They were in each other’s weddings, and in 2011 Chelsea referred to Newmyer as her “best friend.”
In numerous emails, Chelsea’s mom, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, actively promoted Newmyer and attempted to assist her in securing Defense Department contracts. 
Secretary Clinton put Newmyer in contact with Michèle Flournoy, then-President Barack Obama’s undersecretary of defense, according to the emails from Clinton’s private email server released by the Department of State under a lawsuit filed by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. 
Hillary followed up in a July 19, 2009 email, asking Newmyer, “By the way, did the DOD contract work out?” 
ONA was supposed to work on complicated future warfare scenarios when it was originally set up in the 1970s. 
The think tank’s first director, Andrew Marshall, was adored by a coterie of ONA staff. He was called “Yoda,” after the “Star Wars” series, adding to his mystique. Marshall lasted in the DOD post for 42 years and retired at the age of 93 in 2015.
In 2016, Lovinger sent a series of memos to James H. Baker, ONA’s new director, raising many problems Baker “inherited” from Marshall, including the use of contractors. ONA has a reputation for issuing “‘sweet-heart contracts’ to a privileged few,” Lovinger told Baker in a Sept. 30, 2016 email chain. 
ONA’s leadership, led by Baker, did not take kindly to Lovinger’s warnings and allegedly retaliated against the staffer, according to Sean Bigley, a federal security clearance attorney who also represents him. 
Baker suspended Lovinger’s security clearance in May for “security infractions,” and launched numerous investigations. 
The suspension came after Lovinger had been detailed to the National Security Council. He was removed from the National Security Council after losing his security clearance, and now languishes inside a Defense Department satellite office doing busy work. 
In a Sept. 13, 2017 letter to DOD officials, Bigley charged: “A review of the ‘case file’ in this matter illuminates a picture of intentional whistleblower retaliation against Mr. Lovinger; personal and political vendettas against Lovinger by Baker …” 
Although Lovinger has since been exonerated of all the accusations, he still faces the possibility of a revocation of his clearance. His case is currently pending before Defense Department officials. 
In a recent move, Baker decided to “reclassify” Lovinger’s ONA position to one that now requires new skills he doesn’t possess.


  1. Oy vey. These people are really deeply embedded.

  2. The IC has always had an army of paid intelligence fabricators like Halper on the black books. Therein is a troubling dynamic to be explored.

    1. Let's hope Durham takes that deep dive ...

    2. There is so much new info popping up every day, we can't expect a movie to accurately tell this story for years to come ! :-)

    3. And you know there's so much going on behind the scenes ...

  3. Let's hope Barr and Durham do not have the view that the American public cannot handle truth.

  4. There is much much more to the covert espionage and Black Ops side of this story that is yet to be revealed. Just as Prince Andrew's dirty laundry with Epstein is now finding it's way into public awareness, the active role of MI-6 in the coup conspiracy will soon be revealed as well. Steele was not simply an adjunct contractor working for Fusion GPS, he was the MI-6 liaison to the conspiracy. They also provided direct support via a handler working out of the British Embassy in DC who interacted with Nelly at a safe house and also employed various dead-drops for passing sensitive instructions and research back and forth. Nelly's infamous ham radio license was part of a fail-safe communications channel to be used in emergency situations. The rabbit hole goes very deep.

    1. Yes, much more. I've cited Steele's admission that he discussed the Russia Hoax with Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6. It's clear that Steele was still working for/with MI6. This has Brennan fingerprints all over it.

      Recall too I pointed out that Nellie lied about when she got that ham radio license--a giveaway, it seems to me, that the license served an intel purpose and wasn't just a hobby.

    2. Concerning Nelly Ohr's "hobby" I am incredulous that NSA does not capture every single transmission in the ham bandwidth within a hundred miles of the Capitol bldg. If not it is an incredible hole in the security/SigInt network. The old Soviet embassy was probably capable of doing it complete with DF triangulation.
      Wouldn't heads explode if Putin just happen to stumble upon recordings of some odd conversations between the British embassy and a certain neophyte 'ham' and accidentally send them to someone like Wikileaks. Collusion!!!!
      Tom S.

    3. The technical issues are beyond me--I don't even know if there are any.

      OTOH, from a legal standpoint this would be hard to square with the 4th Amendment. Not that what goes on already isn't difficult to square with the 4th, but this would definitely be more so.