By Tom Porter
U.S. spies paid out $100,000 to a Russian intelligence source who promised to deliver weapons stolen from the National Security Agency and compromising information on President Donald Trump, reported The New York Times Friday.
The seller, who was not identified in the report, allegedly offered to sell the U.S. its hacking tools back, after they were advertised for sale online by a group called the Shadow Brokers.
The stolen cyberweapons had been used by hackers to break into computer systems globally, and unleash a global malware attack in May, 2017.
The Russian demanded $1 million for the secrets, and the CIA paid him a $100,000 advance at a meeting in a Berlin hotel room.
According to U.S. and European intelligence officials cited in the report, the CIA was wary of the Trump information touted by the Russian—as the agency didn’t want to become embroiled in a domestic political controversy.
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.
He was eventually told by the CIA to leave Europe and not return.
Multiple intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in a bid to help secure Trump’s victory. According to a notorious dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele and part-funded by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, Russia has compromising information with which to blackmail Trump.