American spies delivered a suitcase with $100,000 in cash a year ago to a murky Russian operative in exchange for unverified information on President Donald Trump, the New York Times reported on Friday, Feb. 9, citing anonymous American and European intelligence officials.
'Comey had conversations with Donald Trump, which I don't believe were accurate.he leaked information'.
According to the Times on Friday, the Russian took the money but failed to turn over the stolen material or the dirt on Trump.
The man also told American officials that he had images of Trump hanging out with hookers in Moscow in 2013.
He claimed it would link the president and his associates to Russian Federation, the Times said, citing the officials. That information was obtained by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, which officials privately say they believe is connected to Russian Federation.
The Times reports that American spies had their doubts about the Russian operative, who was known to have ties to Russian intelligence and cybercriminals, but made a decision to arrange a deal with him.
Since then, at least four Russians with espionage and underworld connections have appeared in Central and Eastern Europe, offering to sell the compromising data.
The Russian eventually delivered information that had been publicly released by the Shadow Brokers, and the Trump information he pushed was already in the public domain or dubious. The video had no sound or any evidence the man in footage was Trump. However, when they delivered the $100,000 - the first payment of the $1 million deal - all they received was shoddy information on Trump and his associates.
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 U.S. officials, the Russian, and communications reviewed by The New York Times. Fusion GPS, the company tasked with the work, also took money from Russian Federation while the document was being compiled by a British ex-spy who was being given most of his information from sources with Kremlin ties.
The newspaper's sources say that after that, the Americans turned down their deal, because they were afraid to become part of the "Russian operation undermining the American government".
"To try to buy something back like that" is folly because "you'd never have confidence that they've secured the code", said a former senior intelligence official, who was not aware of the reported negotiation.
He was eventually told by the Central Intelligence Agency to leave Europe and not return.