Corrupt: Government withheld exculpatory evidence during trial of Pentagon ‘Spygate’ whistleblower stripped of security clearance
Buried under an avalanche of news stories reporting on the malfeasance of the “deep state” operation to embroil President Donald Trump in “Spygate” is another example of how pervasive corruption is throughout the U.S. justice system and intelligence community: The case of Pentagon whistleblower Adam Lovinger.
A 12-year veteran strategist at the Pentagon who supports the president, Lovinger was stripped of his security clearance last year by Obama-appointed officials after he filed complaints about “questionable government contracts” that were awarded to Stefan Halper, the spy hired by the FBI to infiltrate the 2016 Trump campaign.
Lovinger, who worked in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, make complaints to his supervisors regarding Halper contracts in the fall of 2016, according to his attorney, Sean Bigley.
Those same superiors pulled Lovinger’s security clearance on May 1, 2017, then assigned him to menial clerical duties.
The Washington Times reported in August 2018:
Mr. Bigley filed a complaint July 18 with the Pentagon’s senior ethics official, charging that Mr. Lovinger’s superiors misused the security clearance process to punish him. He said his client complained about excessive “sweetheart” deals for Mr. Halper and for a “best friend” of Chelsea Clinton.
As it turns out, one of the two contractors Mr. Lovinger explicitly warned his ONA superiors about misusing in 2016 was none other than Mr. Halper,” Bigley wrote in his ethics complaint, in which he labeled the contracts “cronyism and corruption.”
Mr. Lovinger filed a whistleblower reprisal complaint in May with the Defense Department inspector general against James Baker, director of the Office of Net Assessment. The complaint also singles out Washington Headquarters Services, a Pentagon support agency that awarded the Halper contracts totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In an internal October 2016 email to higher-ups, Mr. Lovinger wrote of “the moral hazard associated with the Washington Headquarters Services contracting with Stefan Halper,” the complaint said. It said Mr. Baker hired Mr. Halper to “conduct foreign relations,” a job that should be confined to government officials.
“It was a topic of conversation within the office,” Bigley told the paper. “What is Halper doing, and why is he being paid astronomically more than others similarly situated?
“Nobody in the office seemed to know what Halper was doing for his money.”
“Adam said Jim Baker, the director, kept Halper’s contracts very close to the vest,” Bigley added. “And nobody seemed to have any idea what he was doing at the time. He subcontracted out a good chunk of it to other academics. He would compile them all and then collect the balance as his fee as a middleman. That was very unusual.”
In a subsequent report, investigative journalist Sara A. Carter noted that Lovinger claimed that Halper’s contract — which he may have illegally outsourced to foreign advisers — was part of a “set up” to entangle the Trump campaign and presidency.
And the FBI was in on it, she added:
Before Lovinger’s clearance was suspended he had taken a detail to the National Security Council as senior director for strategy. He was only there for five months before he was recalled to the Pentagon, stripped of his prestigious White House detail, and ordered to perform bureaucratic make-work in a Pentagon annex Bigley calls “the land of misfit toys.” His security clearance was eventually revoked in March 2018, despite the Pentagon “refusing to turn over a single page of its purported evidence of Lovinger’s wrongdoing,” Bigley stated. Conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, recently filed a federal lawsuit against the Defense Department to obtain the withheld records.
Lovinger also raised concerns about Halper’s role in conducting what appeared to be diplomatic meetings with foreigners on behalf of the U.S. government because his role as contractor forbids him from doing so, according to U.S. federal law.
An investigation by SaraACarter.com reveals that the documents and information Lovinger stumbled on and other documents obtained by this news site, raise troubling questions about Halper, who was believed to have worked with the CIA and part of the matrix of players in the bureau’s ‘CrossFire Hurricane’ investigation into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Halper, who assisted the FBI in the Russia investigation, appears to also have significant ties to the Russian government, as well as sources connected directly to President Vladimir Putin.
“When Mr. Lovinger raised concerns about DoD’s misuse of Stefan Halper in 2016, he did so without any political designs or knowledge of Mr. Halper’s spying activities,” Bigley told SaraACarter.com.
“Instead, Mr. Lovinger simply did what all Americans should expect of our civil servants: he reported violations of law and a gross waste of public funds to his superiors” and is now paying for it with his career, Bigley said last year.
DoD’s Washington Headquarters Services Director Barbara Westgate sent Lovinger a letter in April 2018 informing him that he was indefinitely suspended from his duties…without pay.
Now, The Epoch Times reports, Lovinger is challenging the outcome of an administrative trial because he says he’s unearthed evidence the government withheld an exculpatory report that would have cleared him of allegations he leaked information to the media:
…Lovinger filed an ethics complaint with the Department of Defense (DOD) Inspector General dated July 17, the day after discovering, through a Privacy Act request, that the government was in possession of an exculpatory report by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) months before his administrative trial.
Lovinger’s attorney, Sean Bigley, believes Lovinger was targeted for reprisal for his complaints about the ONA overall and not about Halper specifically.
“Mr. Lovinger’s complaints were about the disconnect between what ONA was paying its contractors to do and the office’s primary responsibility of producing net assessments. ONA has not produced a single net assessment in over a decade. Mr. Lovinger’s point was that not producing net assessments jeopardizes our national security and prevents us from having an informed strategy if we ever need to go to war,” Bigley told The Epoch Times.
After his security clearance was revoked, Lovinger appealed it. In December following a five-day administrative trial, a judge concluded that there was insufficient evidence to establish that Lovinger leaked information to the media.
However, the judge ruled against Lovinger on two other accounts and recommended his clearance remain revoked.
Bigley told The Epoch Times that withholding of the exculpatory report by the government directly affected the outcome of the trial because the allegations of leaking to the media were the most serious charges against his client.
“This evidence would have really undercut the government’s case on a lot of their other claims against him, because it would have demonstrated that the most significant charge against him was unsubstantiated and was false,” Bigley said.
“So they deprived us of that. They caused me and the rest of Mr. Lovinger’s legal team to have to waste an enormous amount of our valuable preparation time trying to shoot down an allegation that they already knew was false.”
The NICS report concluded that Lovinger didn’t leak any sensitive information to the media. The NCIS informed the ONA about the outcome of the inquiry in August 2018, more than three months before the administrative trial, The Epoch Times noted.
“These actions constitute a serious ethics violation that further underscores the case against Mr. Lovinger as being predicated on unlawful whistleblower reprisal,” Bigley wrote in a complaint to the Pentagon inspector general’s office.
Lovinger managed to discover the exculpatory document after teaming with government watchdog legal group Judicial Watch, which obtained it through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.