Russian hacker claims FBI offered him citizenship and a new life if he would confess to hacking Podesta emails on behalf of Putin and Trump
According to a report in Newsweek by Tom O’Connor, a Russian hacker who had been detained in Prague at the request of US authorities, was visited multiple times by FBI agents, who pressed him to confess to hacking the Podesta emails at the behest of Putin, and to help Trump. They allegedly (and unsuccessfully) offered generous inducements, to say the least.
Yevgeniy Nikulin, 29, has found himself in the middle of an international dispute between Washington and Moscow, at the very center of which lies U.S. allegations that Russia sponsored a series of hacks targeting Democratic Party candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in favor of Republican candidate and current President Donald Trump. On October 5, 2016, days before U.S. intelligence publicly accused Russia of endorsing an infiltration of Democratic Party officials' emails, Nikulin was arrested in Prague at the request of the U.S. on separate hacking charges. Now, Nikulin claims U.S. authorities tried to pin the email scandal on him.
Nikulin was detained in the Czech Republic for allegedly hacking the servers of major sites LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring between 2012 and 2013. While awaiting trial, he claims in an undated letter reportedly given to U.S. Russian-language news site Nastoyashchoe Vremya by Nikulin's lawyer, Martin Sadilek, that the FBI visited him at least a couple of times, offering to drop the charges and grant him U.S. citizenship as well as cash and an apartment in the U.S. if the Russian national confessed to participating in the 2016 hacks of Clinton campaign chief John Podesta's emails in July. (snip)
Nikulin said he refused the deal, but U.S. officials threatened to return. He claims the visits occurred in mid-November 2016 and on February 7 of this year. Czech television has reported at least one FBI visit earlier this year, according to The Guardian, which cited an FBI spokesperson as saying the agency was "aware of the situation," but declining further comment. The FBI is seeking to extradite Nikulin to face trial in the U.S., something he and his lawyers are trying to fight.
So if we are to believe this account, the FBI under James Comey was willing to offer the Whole Package – citizenship and a new life – in order to be able to pin the leak of Podesta’s emails on a Russian in service to the elusive “collusion” between Trump and the Russkies. Such a generous offer, the sort of thing offered to high level enemy defectors, must have crossed Comey’s desk, if it didn’t originate there.
Hat tip: Clarice Feldman