Russian Operative Offering Dirt on Trump Bilks U.S. Spies Out of $100,000
A shady, unnamed Russian operative bilked American spies out of $100,000 after promising to return stolen "National Security Agency tools" to U.S. intelligence and provide the agency with compromising pictures of President Trump cavorting with hookers.
That, at least, is the official story as reported by The New York Times Friday night. However, to some, it kinda smells like damage control planted in the Times to get ahead of a really damaging story.
U.S. intelligence wanted to buy back the secret NSA tools so they could do inventory, the story goes, and in the meantime -- unsolicited -- the Russian promised to give them the Trump kompromat -- which the spies insisted they had no interest in whatsoever.
It was their heroic quest to buy back the stolen hacking tools that led the American spies to set up meetings in five-star hotels in Berlin and track the mysterious Russian’s travels throughout Europe last year.
The spies gave the Russian 10 percent of a $1 million deal, but instead of the cyberweapons, all they got was a blurry 15-second video of a (naked?) man in a hotel room talking to two women and more "unverified" and "possibly fabricated" (by Sidney Blumenthal?) nonsense about Trump and others.
There was no sound in the video clip or evidence that the man was Trump. Oddly enough, the president doesn't seem to have been briefed about any of this -- nor has Congress.
The New York Post reported:
With 20/20 hindsight, US intelligence was driven by desperation to recover the hacking tools which have been used to wreak havoc on millions of computers across the world, one veteran spy said.
“That’s one of the bedeviling things about counterintelligence and the wilderness that it is – nobody wants to be caught in a position of saying we wrote that off and then five years later, saying, `Holy cow, it was actually a real guy,’ ” said Steven Hall, the former chief of Russian operations for the CIA.
And looking back, it should have been obvious that the Russian never had any ties to sensitive information.
He’d been busted for money laundering and his only business ties were to a nearly bankrupt company that sold grills to streetside sausage peddlers, according to British incorporation papers cited by the Times.
Interestingly, an unsavory character from Clintonworld appears near the end of the Times article.
"Cody Shearer, an American political operative with ties to the Democratic party, has been crisscrossing Eastern Europe for more than six months to secure the purported kompromat from another Russian," the Times reported.