Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley is seeking to cut in half the budget for an in-house Pentagon think tank, citing in part dubious contracts awarded to Stefan Halper, the FBI’s main spy in its Trump-Russia probe.
Mr. Halper, whom the FBI wired and deployed to try to persuade Trump associates to implicate themselves in a Russia conspiracy, has received over $1 million in ONA contracts for various studies on China and Russia.
“That office has lost its way,” Mr. Grassley, Iowa Republican, said in a Thursday floor speech.
The Washington Times reported in 2018 that a number of national security experts Mr. Halper cited as sources for one study said they never contributed and never heard of the study.
“Oddly, ONA Director James Baker has repeatedly told me that Halper’s deliverables were ‘high-quality’ and ‘conformed to the requirements set forth in the contract,’” he said. “What planet does ONA live on?”
Mr. Baker defended his stewardship in a February letter to Mr. Grassley.
“The ONA team is a very small and capable organization busy doing what it is chartered to do,” he said. “It remains widely respected by its customers, including the senior-most policy makers and military leaders in the country.”
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