An operation to collect inside information on Carter Administration foreign policy was run in Ronald Reagan's campaign headquarters in the 1980 Presidential campaign, according to present and former Reagan Administration officials.
Those sources said they did not know exactly what information the operation produced or whether it was anything beyond the usual grab bag of rumors and published news reports. But they said it involved a number of retired Central Intelligence Agency officials and was highly secretive.
The sources identified Stefan A. Halper, a campaign aide involved in providing 24-hour news updates and policy ideas to the traveling Reagan party, as the person in charge. Mr. Halper, until recently deputy director of the State Department's Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs and now chairman of the Palmer National Bank in Washington, was out of town today and could not be reached. But Ray S. Cline, his father-in-law, a former senior Central Intelligence official, rejected the account as a "romantic fallacy."