Saturday, February 10, 2018

American Spies Paid $100,000 to Russian Who Wanted to Sell Material on Trump

American Spies Paid $100,000 to Russian Who Wanted to Sell Material on Trump
Excerpt: 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. Several American intelligence officials said they made clear that they did not want the Trump material from the Russian — who was suspected of having murky ties to Russian intelligence and to Eastern European cybercriminals. 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. (...) The episode ended earlier this year with American spies chasing the Russian out of Western Europe, warning him not to return if he valued his freedom, the American businessman said. The alleged Trump material was left with the American, who has secured it in Europe. (Sourced at least partially from the NYT, this article reads like a spy novel with lots of innuendo and very few hard facts, but it is a fascinating look behind the curtains of political statecraft. Notice that "September" was last year--2017--well after Trump took office. I wonder who was pushing and paying to get the supposed dirty data? It couldn't possibly have been a political opposition group, could it? If anything had come of this, we'd have been reading it in the papers since October, wouldn't we? Link may not be live. Ron P.)

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