The Other McCain

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The ‘Deep State’ Is Real: Whistleblower Punished for Pentagon Spy Complaint

Posted on | August 16, 2018 | Comments Off on The ‘Deep State’ Is Real: Whistleblower Punished for Pentagon Spy Complaint

Rowan Scarborough reports at The Washington Times:

A Trump-supporting Pentagon analyst was stripped of his security clearance by Obama-appointed officials after he complained of questionable government contracts to Stefan Halper, the FBI informant who spied on the Trump presidential campaign.
Adam Lovinger, a 12-year strategist in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, complained to his bosses about Halper contracts in the fall of 2016, his attorney, Sean M. Bigley, told The Washington Times.
On May 1, 2017, his superiors yanked his security clearance and relegated him to clerical chores.
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,” Mr. Bigley wrote in his ethics complaint, which called 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. . . .
Mr. Baker was appointed chief of the Office of Net Assessment in 2015 by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Mr. Obama’s appointee.
The Washington Headquarters Services, which revoked Mr. Lovinger’s clearance, is headed by Barbara Westgate, who was appointed in 2016. . . .
Press reports identified Mr. Halper as a paid FBI confidential human source, whose mission was to make contacts with Trump campaign workers. The FBI was investigating any Trump ties to Moscow at a time when its intelligence officers were hacking Democratic Party computers.
The Daily Caller website documented Mr. Halper’s outreach to George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign volunteer. He also contacted another volunteer, Carter Page. . . .
Mr. Halper was paid $411,000 by Washington Headquarters Services on Sept. 26, 2016, for a contract that ran until this March.

Who are these Pentagon bureaucrats, James Baker and Barbara Westgate? Are they partisan Democrat hacks — or adherents to some “internationalist” ideology — burrowed into the civil service? Why else would they seek to destroy the career of Adam Lovinger, who had the temerity to raise questions about the funds paid to Stefan Halper?

It is not a paranoid “conspiracy theory” to say that government bureaucracies often operate in ways harmful to the public interest, and that bureaucrats often display a greater concern for their own job security than for whatever work the bureaucracy is intended to do.

Let us consider the situation in early 2016, when it became apparent that Trump would win the Republican presidential nomination, which was what started this apparent effort to sabotage his campaign with ginned-up accusations of “Russian collusion.” The fact that the Kremlin actually was seeking to influence the election is irrelevant to the propriety of the Obama administration conducting surveillance of its political opponents, using government resources for partisan purposes. The question is why Pentagon bureaucrats like Baker and Westgate would cooperate in this scheme to sabotage Trump. Are they partisan Democrats?

Well, both were appointed to their current positions during the Obama administration, and we might suppose that no bureaucrat known to be a Republican would get a promotion in a Democrat administration. But consider this fact: From 1993-2017, Democrats occupied the White House for 16 years (Clinton 1993-2001, Obama 2009-2017) compared to only eight years for Republicans (G.W. Bush 2001-2009). In other words, a long-serving bureaucrat at the Pentagon (or in any other federal agency) would have become accustomed to working for Democrats who served in presidentially appointed positions as Cabinet secretaries, etc. Regardless of their own political opinions, then, we might expect that senior employees of the Pentagon would be less troubled by the idea of Hillary Clinton becoming president than by the idea of the disruptive outsider Donald Trump winning the 2016 election.

Trump’s avowed intent to reorient U.S. foreign policy, away from the internationalist status quo toward an “America First” approach, may well have concerned Pentagon bureaucrats. We don’t have to debate the wisdom of U.S. post-Cold War strategy (e.g., the effectiveness and utility of NATO) in order to say that Trump was willing to ask questions that no one in the bipartisan Beltway policy-making establishment had bothered asking for many years. Clearly, Trump meant to shake things up, and that almost certainly would have frightened a lot of bureaucrats who had spent years crawling their way up the career ladder at the Pentagon, the State Department, the FBI, the CIA, etc. Thus, to speak of the “Deep State” in the context of efforts to prevent the election of Trump, and to sabotage his presidency after he won, is by no means advancing a paranoid conspiracy theory; it is a realistic conclusion based on a common-sense interpretation of available evidence.

The allegations in Adam Lovinger’s lawsuit show how this “Deep State” conspiracy may have worked at an operational level. Anyone in the bureaucracy who opposed the effort to sabotage Trump — for instance, by asking why Stefan Halper was being paid so much by the Pentagon — would become a target of ostracism and potential disciplinary actions.

Allegedly, I hasten to add. A certain amount of journalistic caution is necessary when you’re dealing with situations like this.

(Hat-tip: Charlie Martin at Instapundit.)



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