CIA paid Russian spy who offered 'dirt' on Trump $100K
Here's a cloak and dagger story that would be hilarious if it wasn't so frightening.
The CIA thought they had an opportunity to recover hacking tools that had been stolen from the NSA last year courtesy of a shadowy Russian spy. The Russian also offered the CIA compromising pictures and video of Donald Trump. The asking price was $1 million, of which, the CIA gave the spy $100,000.
Eventually, the CIA figured out they were being had.
U.S. intelligence officials told The Times they were so desperate to retrieve those tools that they negotiated with the operative for months despite several red flags, including indications that he was working in concert with Russian intelligence.
Another red flag was the Russian’s financial request. He initially sought $10 million for the information but dropped the asking price to $1 million.
After months of negotiations, American spies handed over $100,000 in cash in a brief case to the Russian during a meeting in Berlin in September.
The operative also offered documents and emails that purported to implicate other Trump associates, including former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. But The Times viewed the documents and reported that they were mostly information that is already in the public domain.
The Russian, who has ties to organized criminals and money launderers, showed the video purported to be Trump to a Berlin-based American businessman who served as his intermediary to the CIA. But according to the Times, the footage and the location of the viewing raised questions about its authenticity.
The 15-second clip showed two women speaking with a man. It is not clear if the man was Trump, and there was no audio. The Russian also showed the video to his American partner at the Russian embassy in Berlin, a sign that the operative had ties to Russian intelligence.
The Russian stonewalled the production of the cyber tools, and U.S. officials eventually cut ties, according to The Times. After the payout in Berlin, the man provided information about Trump and his associates of questionable veracity.
Was the CIA really only interested in recovering the cyber tools and turned up their nose at the Trump dirt being offered? Sharyl Attkisson wonders why this information is coming out now - in the New York Times of all places.
Looks like some US intel officials are using the NYT to do some 'splainin' & spinning before this info came out on its own. (Funny the intel sources didn't report this to Trump, Congress or public at the time). https://t.co/Dr5aPdc132— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) February 10, 2018
It is possible that the CIA is getting out in front of this story due to their embarrassment at being taken for fools by the Russian. Or, it could be, as Attkisson suggests, that the story was going to come out somewhere and they needed to spin it by making it appear that their primary concern wasn't getting dirt on Trump, but on recovering the cyber tools.
Whichever way you look at it, it's incredible. That the Times published this bombshell on a Saturday tells us they know full well the serious implications involved in this story and their maximum effort to minimize it.