Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Sunday, February 11, 2018

The United States intelligence community has been conducting a top-secret operation to recover stolen classified U.S. government documents from Russian operatives, according to sources familiar with the matter. The operation has also inadvertently yielded a cache of documents purporting to relate to Donald Trump and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Over the past year, American intelligence officials have opened a secret communications channel with the Russian operatives, who have been seeking to sell both Trump-related materials and documents stolen from the National Security Agency and obtained by Russian intelligence, according to people involved with the matter and other documentary evidence.

Advertisement

Advertisement

More

Alternate links: Google News | Twitter

The channel started developing in early 2017, when American and Russian intermediaries began meeting in Germany. Eventually, a Russian intermediary, apparently representing some elements of the Russian intelligence community, agreed to a deal to sell stolen NSA documents back to the U.S. while also seeking to include Trump-related materials in the package. The secret U.S. intelligence channel with the Russians is separate from efforts by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to obtain information about Trump and his ties with Russia. The more recent secret negotiations began after Trump's election and have been conducted by U.S. intelligence officials working with intermediaries who mainly operate in Europe. When American intelligence officials initiated efforts to broker a communications channel in 2017, however, their primary objective was to recover stolen NSA documents, not to obtain material about Trump.

Comments

Admin's note: Participants in this discussion must follow the site's moderation policy. Profanity will be filtered. Abusive conduct is not allowed.

Further, it is not known whether the Russians involved in the channel are acting on their own or have been authorized by the Russian government to try to sell the materials to the United States. As a result, the Americans are uncertain whether the Russians involved are part of a disinformation campaign orchestrated by Moscow, either to discredit Trump or to discredit efforts by American officials investigating Trump's possible ties to Russia, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

THE EXISTENCE OF the off-the-books communications channel, which has been a closely guarded secret within the U.S. intelligence community, has been highly controversial among those officials who know about it, and has begun to cause rifts between officials at the CIA and the NSA who have been involved with it at various times over the past year.

This is the real James Bond type stuff that goes on outside the usual limelight or discreetly hidden within the mundanity of normal life. At this point it's impossible to know what's the truth until the preponderance of other evidence is more fully compiled and a coherent narrative is drawn out.

But this is a fascinating story on its face.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2018-02-09 07:58 PM | Reply

Evan McMullin‏ @Evan_McMullin

Based on the Times' reporting, this appears to be a Russian dangle and disinformation operation intended to set up and embarrass U.S. intelligence, while discrediting investigations into Trump's Russia ties. Moscow's meddling on his behalf continues.

U.S. Spies, Seeking to Retrieve Cyberweapons, Paid Russian Peddling Trump Secrets

www.nytimes.com

#2 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2018-02-09 10:02 PM | Reply

#2

As I said above, at this point it's almost impossible to know. I tend to fall more into the McMullin camp as I think about it further. It makes sense that Russia would try to entice the IC with what they know they want and then throw in free intel on today's hottest controversy.

The other part of me wonders if Russia thinks that exposing the truth about the Trump campaign's complicity could serve them by further inflaming the divisions between US Intel agencies and the White House. Obviously any conclusive evidence will throw the people's confidence in our government into a tailspin. And on that point, I'm not sure the effort iw disinformation more than it's a de facto political neutron bomb.

Again, either way is plausible depending upon Russia's current goals. I wouldn't reflexively rule out either without further evidence helping me to reach a much more informed conclusion.

#3 | Posted by tonyroma at 2018-02-09 10:38 PM | Reply

And again, the Russians know the truth is going to come out soon, so why not get ahead of the curve and use what they've got now when it's most valuable as a potential weapon to sow more discord like they did with Wikileaks?

It's a conundrum.

#4 | Posted by tonyroma at 2018-02-09 10:41 PM | Reply

So, the "intelligence" community got scammed out of $100,000 worth of taxpayer money in a deal valued at $1,000,000 to get naked Trump pictures. How stupid are these people? Re-authorizing the Patriot Act, allowing the FISC abuses, allowing the NSA to continue to listen in on all calls and read all emails (we all know it is happening) is just plain wrong. All Americans should stand up to these abuses and take back control of their government. The Dems used to understand this.

#5 | Posted by Rex_Buyt at 2018-02-09 11:25 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

So, the "intelligence" community got scammed out of $100,000 worth of taxpayer money in a deal valued at $1,000,000 to get naked Trump pictures.

If you understood log scales you'd realize this was a bargain.

How stupid are these people? Re-authorizing the Patriot Act, allowing the FISC abuses, allowing the NSA to continue to listen in on all calls and read all emails (we all know it is happening) is just plain wrong. All Americans should stand up to these abuses and take back control of their government. The Dems used to understand this.

LOL are you another half-assed Trump supporter?

Everything you list is more dangerous in the hands of a Trump DOTUS administration. Period.

#6 | Posted by jpw at 2018-02-10 02:45 AM | Reply

"LOL are you another half-assed Trump supporter?
Everything you list is more dangerous in the hands of a Trump DOTUS administration. Period.

#6 | POSTED BY JPW"

I am a civil and Constitutional rights supporter. Obama clearly weaponized the justice department and this is not the first time this has happened. The FBI was corrupt for more of its history than it was not corrupt. I don't care which party is in power, I don't want to have my rights trampled upon even if it helps to stop "terrorism" or whatever excuse they are peddling for why it is okay for the NSA to violate your rights. Like I said, the Dems used to understand this but now it seems they are the law and order party, at least for the next few months, because they think it hurts Trump. You need to put aside your partisanship and do what is right for the country.

#7 | Posted by Rex_Buyt at 2018-02-10 05:48 AM | Reply

Funny watching the right bend over backwards to ---- all over law enforcement because their boy is a criminal.

You're as subtle as a jackhammer, guys.

#8 | Posted by jpw at 2018-02-10 03:10 PM | Reply

-- at this point it's almost impossible to know.

That describes about every Roma conspiracy thread.

#9 | Posted by nullifidian at 2018-02-10 03:15 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

"So, the "intelligence" community got scammed out of $100,000 worth of taxpayer money in a deal valued at $1,000,000 to get naked Trump pictures."

Budweiser ran a $5,000,000 ad to brag about giving away $100,000 of water.

#10 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-02-10 04:21 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Advertisement

Advertisement

CIA calls report of $100K payment to Russian "fictional"

www.cbsnews.com

#11 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2018-02-10 04:58 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Evan McMullin‏ @Evan_McMullin

Evan McMullin Retweeted Donald J. Trump
Trump appears to be working in concert with Moscow on this. Russians ran a likely dangle op to set up US intel, which assessed and rejected it. Having taken the op as far as it could, Moscow likely planted the story. Now, Trump echoes Moscow's narrative.

Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump

According to the @nytimes, a Russian sold phony secrets on "Trump" to the U.S. Asking price was $10 million, brought down to $1 million to be paid over time. I hope people are now seeing & understanding what is going on here. It is all now starting to come out - DRAIN THE SWAMP!

#12 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2018-02-10 05:00 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Best summation of it, Gal. Anyone following this should understand the repercussions of #12.

#13 | Posted by YAV at 2018-02-10 05:07 PM | Reply

Twitter commentary from ex-IC individuals on this media narrative [twitter.com]:

1) The Intercept piece paints the IC as reluctant to accept damaging information about Trump because of Pompeo's loyalty to him. The NYT tells a much more convincing story: The IC was wary of a Russian operation that had all the hallmarks of a disinformation campaign.

2) Agreed! CIA exercised excellent tradecraft & counterintelligence sense by recognizing this trap designed to destroy CIA trust w/Trump. If they had bit & accepted Russians would have revealed every tape, photo & text to Trump to show "Deep State" conspiracy. Civil war would ensue.

#14 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2018-02-10 05:09 PM | Reply

Budweiser ran a $5,000,000 ad to brag about giving away $100,000 of water.

#10 | POSTED BY SNOOFY AT 2018-02-10 04:21 PM | REPLY |

$12.5 million at least. $5 million only gets you a 30 second spot, and that ad ran for a minute, plus production cost.

#15 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2018-02-12 10:13 AM | Reply

Comments are closed for this entry.

Home | Breaking News | Comments | User Blogs | Stats | Back Page | RSS Feed | RSS Spec | DMCA Compliance | Privacy | Copyright 2018 World Readable

Drudge Retort