This post owes a debt to three sources:
- @MsTrial and her March 18, 2018 Thread.
- A March 25, 2018 article by the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross.
- @JohnWHuber for details added in his excellent May 8, 2018 Thread.
Note: For a detailed sequencing of events see, Ties That Bind – Stefan Halper, Joseph Mifsud & Alexander Downer (& Papadopoulos). Posts are complimentary.
For updated post on Dearlove Connections, see: Sir Richard Dearlove & UK Intelligence Ties.
We’ve been postulating that foreign intelligence – primarily from the UK – was used by CIA Director Brennan to initiate the FBI’s July 2016 Counterintelligence Investigation and push the Russia Narrative.
Thanks to the work cited above, some details regarding a very private UK Intelligence firm have surfaced.
In the small circular world of professional spooks, Hakluyt has ties with three unexpected individuals:
- Australian diplomat Alexander Downer.
- Stefan Halper, a former policy advisor to Nixon, Ford and Reagan.
- George Papadopoulos
Alexander Downer famously met with George Papadopoulos at a London Bar in May 2016. This meeting would be used by the FBI as their excuse behind opening the July 2016 Counterintelligence Investigation.
Note: The FBI didn’t bother to interview Papadopoulos until January 27, 2017. The conversation in question took place in May 2016. The FBI knew of this conversation no later than July 2016.
From the New York Times:
During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.
About three weeks earlier, Mr. Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.
The diplomat, Alexander Downer, informed the Australian government of the conversation.
Two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts.
The hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the FBI to open an investigation in July 2016.
Buried at the bottom of the Times article was the following:
It is unclear whether Mr. Downer was fishing for that information that night in May 2016. The meeting at the bar came about because of a series of connections, beginning with an Israeli Embassy official who introduced Mr. Papadopoulos to another Australian diplomat in London.
An Israeli official, who Papadopoulos knew, introduced him to another Australian diplomat who introduced Papadopoulos to Downer. There’s more to this story.
As previously noted, Alexander Downer has long-standing ties to the Clinton Foundation.
Downer personally arranged one of the largest foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation – $25 million from the Australian government.
Less known is that Downer was on the Advisory Board of Hakluyt (the private UK intelligence firm) from 2008-2014.
He reportedly still maintains contact with Hakluyt officials. From a News Corp Australia article:
British foreign officials have privately expressed disquiet about Australia’s diplomatic post link to a shadowy security firm that sells intelligence to corporate clients.
Created by former MI6 British Secret Service agents, Hakluyt is an ultra secretive firm whose client list reads like a who’s who of the business world with corporations retaining their services for strategic intelligence and advice as they look to expand operations.
Australian High Commissioner to the UK Alexander Downer had been on the advisory board of the London-headquartered firm since 2008 when he was a UN special envoy but was forced to give up the position when he was appointed to head the Australian diplomatic post in London in 2014.
But it can be revealed Mr Downer has still been attending client conferences and gatherings of the group, including a client cocktail soiree at the Orangery at Kensington Palace a few months ago.
Downer stock divestitures listed on January 23, 2015. Actual transfer date August 7, 2014.
The firm’s top officials come from MI6. Several Board Members come from GCHQ – the UK’s NSA.
One Board member stands out. Ambassador Louis Susman (bio here). Susman received his Ambassadorship through fundraising abilities & Chicago connections with Obama.
The retired Chicago businessman Louis Susman recently became the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, an appointment widely regarded as the prize for his ferocious fundraising on behalf of the Obama campaign.
Derided by the British press as the “vacuum cleaner,” Susman is only the most prominent example of a continuing—and questionable—American tradition.
Nicknamed the Vacuum Cleaner for his ability to hoover up cash for Democratic politicians, Louis Susman is a low-key veteran Chicago investment banker known for possessing one of the fattest contact books in the mid-west.
Before rattling the tin for Barack Obama, Susman generated $244m (£156m) as national finance director of John Kerry’s presidential bid and he played a key fund-raising role for previous White House hopefuls including Bill Bradley, Dick Gephart and Edward Kennedy.
Things get stranger still.
Papadopoulos didn’t only meet with Downer. He also met with several other unusual contacts.
One was Josef Mifsud – a London-based Maltese professor “whose academic credentials appear mysteriously thin.” Mifsud introduced Papadopoulos to the Russian ambassador in London and a woman he told Papadopoulos was the niece of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Mifsud meetings took place in March 2016.
It was reportedly Mifsud who told Papadopoulos the Kremlin had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. It was this information that Papadopoulos supposedly relayed to Alexander Downer.
There has been speculation that Mifsud was working with UK Intelligence. Julian Assange put out a Twitter Thread noting the connection between Mifsud and UK Intelligence. More on Mifsud will probably be revealed.
Another odd meeting occurred between Papadopoulos and Dr. Stefan Halper. The Daily Caller reported on the meeting:
Two months before the 2016 election, George Papadopoulos received a strange request for a meeting in London, one of several the young Trump adviser would be offered — and he would accept — during the presidential campaign.
The meeting request, which has not been reported until now, came from Stefan Halper, a foreign policy expert and Cambridge professor with connections to the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6.
The Halper meeting occurred on September 13, 2016. The Downer meeting took place in May 2016. The Mifsud meeting took place in March 2016.
Papadopoulos questioned Halper’s motivation for contacting him, according to a source familiar with Papadopoulos’ thinking. That’s not just because of the randomness of the initial inquiry but because of questions Halper is said to have asked during their face-to-face meetings in London.
According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, Halper asked Papadopoulos: “George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?”
Halper is a Cambridge Fellow. He was a Senior Policy Advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford & Reagan (bio here).
Halper had previously invited Carter Page to attend a July 2016 symposium held at Cambridge regarding the upcoming election. The speaker list was notable:
- Madeleine Albright (former U.S. Secretary of State)
- Vin Weber (Republican Party strategist and former Congressman)
- Ambassador Peter Ammon (German Ambassador to the UK)
- Sir Richard Dearlove (former head of MI6)
- Bridget Kendall (BBC diplomatic correspondent and the next Master of Peterhouse College)
- Sir Malcolm Rifkind (former Defence and Foreign Secretary)
Page attended the symposium just four days after his July 2016 Moscow trip. Page met with Halper during the London visit. Page’s Moscow trip would figure prominently in the Steele Dossier…
Halper also requested – and attained – a meeting with another, unknown, Trump Campaign member on September 11, 2016 – two days before the Papadopoulos meeting.
Halper “offered to help the campaign” but did not mention the Papadopoulos meeting to the second staffer – nor the staffer meeting to Papadopoulos.
Curiously, despite the offers of campaign help, on November 3, 2016, Halper publicly stated that Clinton would be the best option for US-UK relations.
One other particularly interesting note.
Halper has connections to the UK Intelligence firm Hakluyt through Jonathan Clarke, with whom he has co-authored two books. You can find a June 2004 video of the pair discussing their first book here.
Jonathan Clarke is the U.S. Representative – Director U.S. Operations for Hakluyt. Clarke is a fairly public figure – but it was quite difficult to locate references to his association with Hakluyt.
Given the lengthy association between Halper and Clarke, I expect we will find additional ties between Halper, other members of Hakluyt and members of British Intelligence.
Halper’s association with former MI6 Head Richard Dearlove – via their previous positions at Cambridge Intelligence Seminar – is already known.
The New York Times reported the Reagan campaign headquarters conducted a data-gathering operation to collect inside information on Carter foreign policy and used a number of former CIA officials in the effort.
It said Stefan Halper, a campaign aide who handled communications for Bush and provided news updates and policy ideas to the traveling Reagan party, was in charge of the operation.
Papadopoulos speculated to the Daily Caller that the Downer/Halper meetings may have been a spy operation.
Connections with Richard Dearlove – the former MI6 Head – keep turning up. He appears to be the one constant in the overseas connections. As far as I can tell, he knows every single player.
Here is a video of the only UK televised interview Dearlove has done. He makes some interesting comments:
Trump is President. And that is a large element of unpredictability. Trump is only going to be there, probably, for another three years. We need to think more broadly.
He’s done some unpredictable things, but I don’t think you should necessarily judge the Intelligence relationship in terms of Trump’s tweets.
Regarding the Steele Dossier and Christopher Steele:
I won’t confirm or deny that I knew Christopher. I think there is probably some credibility to the content. I wouldn’t put it any more forcibly than that.
I’m growing ever more curious as to the true role of Richard Dearlove.
Here is what I’ve added to A Listing of Participants on Hakluyt:
- British strategic intelligence and advisory firm.
- Fitzroy MacLean – Founder (deceased).
- Christopher James – Founder. Managing Director. Formerly in charge of MI6’s business relations.
- Mike Reynolds – Founder. Director. Former station head of MI6 in Germany. Reportedly close friends w/former MI6 Head Richard Dearlove.
- Lord Paul Deighton – Chairman. British Conservative Politician. Former Investment Banker.
- Paul Schreier – Managing Director.
- Keith Craig – Former CEO. Remains on Advisory Board.
- Andy France – Hakluyt Cyber (role unclear). Former Darktrace CEO. Former Deputy Director for Cyber Defense Operations at GCHQ.
- Jonathan Clarke – Director – U.S. Operations.
- Jonathan Selib – Employed by Hakluyt – Made donations to Clinton Campaign.
- Holly Evans – Employed by Hakluyt – Made donations to Clinton Campaign.
- Andrew Exum – Employed by Hakluyt – Made donations to Clinton Campaign.
- Sir Iain Lobben – Advisory Board Member. Former Director, GCHQ.
- Ambassador Louis Susman – Advisory Board Member. Former U.S. Ambassador to UK.
- Alexander Downer – Former Advisory Board Member. Australia’s top diplomat in Britain. Previously UN Envoy to Cyprus. Met with George Papadopoulos in London. Downer was an Advisory Board Member from 2008-2014. He reportedly still maintains contact with Hakluyt officials.
Hakluyt’s role is not yet fully understood. May have involvement in Papadopoulos meeting.
- Dr. Stefan Halper – Cambridge Fellow. Senior Policy Advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford & Reagan. Halper met w/Papadopoulos on 9-13-16 and senior Trump Campaign official on 9-11-16. Invited Carter Page to 7-16-16 Cambridge symposium. Halper reportedly brought up subject of Russian hacking of Clinton emails. In November 2016, Halper stated that Clinton would be best for U.S.-UK relations.
Halper has a close association with former MI6 Head Richard Dearlove.
Hakluyt/Holdingham is a secretive firm. It is difficult to obtain much information. Hakluyt historically maintained ties w/Kissinger’s firm. Connected to MI6 through long-standing relationships.