Via the New York Times:
US intelligence paid $100,000 to a shady Russian operative who pocketed the dough and took off without coming through with a promised goldmine of espionage assets – including alleged dirt on President Trump, according to a sensational report on Friday.
The Russian last year got 10 percent of a $1 million deal that was supposed to include stolen National Security Agency tools used for hacking and purported images of Trump consorting with hookers in Moscow, US and European intelligence sources told the New York Times.
But the Russian never came through with any spy-world nuggets.
The alleged compromising images of Trump from 2013 turned out to be a 15-second video clip of a man in a hotel room speaking to two women, sources told the paper. The video had no sound or any evidence the man in the footage was Trump.
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.
…The lengths US intelligence went to cultivate the ultimately bad source were both laughable and straight out of paperback spy novels.
The US worked through an American businessman in Germany, to maintain deniability, and set up meetings in five-star Berlin hotels and tracked the Russian’s travels throughout Europe – including visits to his mistress in Vienna.
And even with those high-end tactics, the NSA also communicated with the Russian through its official Twitter account.