Woman accused of being a Russian spy sues Stefan Halper, WSJ, NY Times, Post, and MSNBC

Woman accused of being a Russian spy sues Stefan Halper, WSJ, NY Times, Post, and MSNBC

Svetlana Lokhova is a British academic who works at Cambridge. Lokhova was born in Russia but has a British passport. Today she sued Stefan Halper, the Wall Street Journal, the NY times, the Washington Post, and MSNBC over stories which suggested she had contact with Gen. Michael Flynn on behalf of Russia. From Politico:

Svetlana Lokhova filed the suit Thursday in federal court in Alexandria, Va., seeking more than $25 million in damages from longtime University of Cambridge academic Stefan Halper as well as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post and MSNBC.

Lokhova alleges that Halper and the news outlets conspired to spread a false narrative that she approached then-Defense Intelligence Agency Director Michael Flynn on behalf of Russian intelligence at a seminar dinner in England in 2014 and that Flynn and Lokhova had an intimate relationship.

Over time, as public attention focused on links between the Trump campaign and Russia — and after Flynn was fired from his role as national security adviser by Trump in February 2017, individuals hostile to Trump and Flynn seized on the alleged connection to Lokhova as evidence that Flynn had been compromised by Russia, she alleges in the suit.

You can read one of those 2017 stories here. The Guardian reported Flynn and Lokhova met at the dinner and exchanged emails afterward:

The Guardian understands Flynn and Lokhova remained in email contact, conducted through an unclassified channel. In one email exchange described by Andrew, Flynn signed himself as “General Misha”, Russian for Mike…

Though there is no suggestion of impropriety, Flynn would have been expected to “self report” any conversation with an unknown person, especially with links to an “adversary” country, such as Russia. Lokhova has informed us that she does not have privileged access to any Russian intelligence archive and there is no suggestion that she has ever worked with or for any of the Russian intelligence agencies.

Just last week, Lokhova wrote a thread on Twitter claiming she’d been falsely accused by Halper:

There’s more, but Lokhova seemed to be working herself up to the lawsuit filed today in the thread.

Why does any of this matter? Because Stefan Halper is also a key player the FBI used to contact George Papadopoulos, even sending an undercover asset to pose as Halper’s assistant. So the fact that Halper was also apparently involved in suggesting Flynn might be compromised seems significant. In the case of Papadopoulos, Halper was clearly acting at the request of the FBI. But in the case of Flynn and Lokhova, it was reportedly Halper who was concerned about their contact.

The question that I can’t quite pin down is when. When did Halper express concern about the brief meeting Flynn had with Lokhova in 2014? Did he express concern in 2014 or was it only years later as the Russia collusion story was gearing up? Lokhova seems to believe it was the latter. From the Daily Caller:

After Halper’s links to American intelligence were revealed, The New York Times and The Washington Post reported he and another Cambridge luminary, former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove, raised concerns about Lokhova’s contacts with Flynn that were subsequently passed to American and British intelligence.

Lokhova blames Halper for distorting her brief interaction with Flynn into “an international espionage scandal” in which she wound up as collateral damage.

“What Halper staged is a textbook ‘black-op’ to dirty up the reputation of a political opponent. He needed an innocuous social event to place Flynn in a room with a woman who was ethnically Russian. I was unlucky he picked me,” Lokhova told TheDCNF.

Maybe there’s a simple explanation for all of this but it does seem odd that Halper would suddenly remember concern over a brief dinner interaction, at a dinner he didn’t attend, which happened 3 years earlier. Why would the FBI take this seriously? This seems like something the IG ought to look into. Here’s a Tucker Carlson report on this from last month: “I believe that Gen. Flynn was targeted and I was used to do that,” Lokhova told Fox News’ Catherine Herridge.

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