A new report by the New York Times reveals U.S. spies paid $100,000 to a “shadowy,” Russian promising dirt on President Trump, along with stolen cyber tools from the CIA and NSA.
After months of secret negotiations, a shadowy Russian bilked American spies out of $100,000 last year, promising to deliver stolen National Security Agency cyberweapons in a deal that he insisted would also include compromising material on President Trump, according to American and European intelligence officials. The cash, delivered in a suitcase to a Berlin hotel room in September, was intended as the first installment of a $1 million payout, according to American officials, the Russian and communications reviewed by The New York Times. The theft of the secret hacking tools had been devastating to the N.S.A., and the agency was struggling to get a full inventory of what was missing. […] He claimed the information would link the president and his associates to Russia. But instead of providing the hacking tools, the Russian produced unverified and possibly fabricated information involving Mr. Trump and others, including bank records, emails and purported Russian intelligence data.
But his apparent eagerness to sell the Trump “kompromat” — a Russian term for information used to gain leverage over someone — to American spies raised suspicions among officials that he was part of an operation to feed the information into United States intelligence agencies and pit them against Mr. Trump. Early in the negotiations, for instance, he dropped his asking price from about $10 million to just over $1 million. Then, a few months later, he showed the American businessman a 15-second clip of a video showing a man in a room talking to two women. No audio could be heard on the video, and there was no way to verify if the man was Mr. Trump, as the Russian claimed.
In April of last year, the “shadowy,” Russian met with U.S. spies in Berlin, handing over a thumb drive he claimed was filled with stolen cyber tools.
After analyzing the thumb drive, U.S. intelligence officers concluded the tools they were given were already made publicly available by a hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers.
The CIA was after unpublished secrets, not tools that were readily available with a click of a button.
After months of back and fourth since what the CIA believed was a failed drop, U.S. spies met with the Russian last month, demanding he deliver the stolen tools or the deal was officially off.
The shadowy figure claimed senior Russian intelligence officials demanded he hold out on delivering the goods. U.S. intelligence agents weren’t impressed, instead, they told him to “[s]tart working for them and provide the names of everyone in his network — or go back to Russia and do not return.”
The Russian simply replied, “Thank you,” and left the meeting.