The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said.
The steady stream of clues leaked to the Times and WaPo have touched off intense speculation about the identity of the source. Some cable TV commentators have pointed to a March 25 report from TheDCNF about Stefan Halper, a University of Cambridge professor who was in contact with both Page and Papadopoulos. Halper, a U.S. citizen, is a veteran of three Republican presidential administrations.
Halper enticed Papadopoulos to visit London in September 2016 with an offer to pay for a policy paper about energy issues. Papadopoulos made the trip and wrote the paper. He was paid $3,000.
Sources familiar with Papadopoulos’s version of his encounters with Halper have told TheDCNF that Halper brought up the question of Russian hacking of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails. Papadopoulos was suspicious of the question, sources say. Papadopoulos, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, was told about Clinton emails back in April 2016 by Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor.