On Friday, the New York Times reported that the CIA paid $100,000 to a shadowy Russian operative who claimed to have cyber tools stolen from the NSA and CIA along with a video that allegedly showed President Donald Trump in a hotel room with Russian prostitutes.
If the video actually showed Trump engaging with prostitutes, the Daily Caller said, it would support salacious allegations made in the infamous Steele dossier.
But, the Times said, no audio could be heard on the 15-second video, and there was no way to verify if the man on the video was actually Trump, as the Russian claimed.
According to The Times:
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. 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.
According to the Times, intelligence officials reportedly cut off the deal “because they were wary of being entangled in a Russian operation to create discord inside the American government. They were also fearful of political fallout in Washington if they were seen to be buying scurrilous information on the president.”
The Daily Caller adds:
Four other Russians with ties to the spy world have surfaced over the past year offering to sell dirt on Trump that closely mirrors allegations made in the dossier, according to the article. But officials have reason to believe that some of sellers have ties to Russian intelligence agencies.
The Times also provides new details on Cody Shearer, a notorious operative close to the Clintons. Shearer was recently revealed to have shopped around a so-called “second dossier” prior to the campaign which mirrored the sex allegations of the Steele report.
According to The Times, he has criss-crossed Europe over the past six months in an attempt to find video footage of Trump from the Moscow hotel room.
Shearer claimed to have information from the FSB, Russia’s spy service, that a video existed of Trump with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room.
Last April, the Russian handed over a thumb drive he claimed contained stolen hacking tools, but analysis found the tools were already available to the public by a group known as the Shadow Brokers.
U.S. operatives met with the Russian and demanded he deliver the stolen tools or the deal was officially off. But he claimed senior Russian intelligence officials ordered him to hold out on delivering the goods.
The Times described the final meeting:
Early this year, the Americans gave him one last chance. The Russian once again showed up with nothing more than excuses.
So the Americans offered him a choice: Start working for them and provide the names of everyone in his network — or go back to Russia and do not return.
The Russian did not give it much thought. He took a sip of the cranberry juice he was nursing, picked up his bag and said, “Thank you.” Then he walked out the door.
Trump has repeatedly denied allegations in the dossier, which he calls a “hoax” and “crap.”
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