Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley has proven time and again that he may be conservative but you can’t call him biased. When he starts demanding answers to sharply pointed questions, everyone takes notice. This time he’s about to mow down James Baker for his role in leaks of classified information to the Washington Post. Oh, and by the way, was Baker the “handler” of Stefan Halper?
Senator Grassley probing critical leaks
As the Obamagate investigation widens, middle of the road republican Chuck Grassley is demanding to know what role James Baker played in Trump related classified information leaked to David Ignatius at the Washington Post. The secret information was tapped from Michael Flynn’s phone call with “then Russian diplomat” Sergey Kislyak and was used as part of the conspiracy to overthrow a sitting president.
Zeroing in on a potential serious crime, Grassley asks in a letter to the Defense Department dated Thursday, if Baker provided “any information related to any Flynn-Kislyak call to anyone with the knowledge that it would be shared by that person to the media,” He especially wants to know if Baker ever gave Ignatius “any information related to Flynn.”
Grassley sent the letter to the Office of Net Assessment at the Department of Defense, demanding to know what the former director of “the Pentagon’s internal think tank” was up to. The ONA is supposed to be in charge of “gaming out military and other geopolitical scenarios decades into the future” and it looks like they were weaponized against President Donald Trump.
Defense Department denies the charges
The DOD swears up and down that James Baker didn’t leak classified intelligence, but that’s not what General Michael Flynn’s lawyer has to say. Judicial Watch agrees. “documents revealed through Freedom of Information Act requests by Judicial Watch show Baker regularly conversed with Ignatius, whose Jan. 12, 2017, column first detailed Flynn’s phone calls with Kislyak during the presidential transition. A follow-up article was written by the Washington Post on Feb. 9, 2017.”
Grassley writes, “Included in these 143 pages of email communications are several heavily redacted communications between you and Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work and Deputy Director of ONA, David Epstein, which would presumably be about Ignatius given the subject matter of the Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act request.” He isn’t buying the denial a second longer and he’s demanding the DOD cough up the evidence that proves it one way or the other.
“Given the overlap in time between the majority of the emails and the leak of the call, your apparent close relationship with Mr. Ignatius, and your communications with Mr. Work and Mr. Epstein, please provide all 143 pages of email communications in unredacted form and all email communications among and between you, Mr. Work, Mr. Epstein, and Mr. Ignatius from July 1, 2016, to March 1, 2017, no later than July 2, 2020.”
Fishing in Deep State waters
Grassley’s on a fishing expedition into the murky swamp of the Deep State. He seems to be on the trail of Bob Work. It looks like, according to a pentagon insider, “Baker was Bob Work’s cutout guy.”
Another thing Grassley is sniffing out also came from Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell. She filed court paperwork in November that describes Baker as a “handler” of Stefan Halper. The Cambridge University professor was an FBI informant “who made contact with members of the Trump campaign.”
Grassley wants to know about the “exorbitant sums” paid to Halper “by the FBI/CIA/DOD through the Department of Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment in 2016.” It looks more than a little suspicious. “His tasks seem to have included slandering Mr. Flynn with accusations of having an affair with a young professor.”
Grassley also demands that Baker hand over all his notes “as to when and how he became aware of Halper’s role in the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference and the Trump campaign.”