The CIA, in a statement, pushed back against reporting that said U.S. spies were swindled out of $100,000 during secret negotiations meant to obtain stolen cyber tools.
"The fictional story that CIA was bilked out of $100,000 is patently false," the spy agency said in a statement reported by AFP.
"The people swindled here were James Risen and Matt Rosenberg," the CIA added, referring to The Intercept and New York Times reporters, respectively, who wrote the stories.
The New York Times reported that U.S. spies paid $100,000 to a Russian who said he could provide them with previously stolen hacking tools from the National Security Agency. The Russian also said he could provide damaging information about President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver dead at 77 Biden, Democrats losing ground with independent and suburban voters: poll Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law MORE, which the CIA said it didn't want, according to the Times.
That story did not specifically say the CIA footed the bill, but said the funds came “through an indirect channel.”
“Late that month, the American businessman delivered the $100,000 payment,” the Times wrote, referring to an American intermediary of the negotiations.
The CIA ended the arrangement with the Russian because of the security risk and the potential political fallout in Washington, according to the Times.
President Trump on Saturday seized on a portion of the Times article, which reported that the Russian provided the American intermediary with unverified information about Trump.
“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,” the president wrote on Twitter. “I hope people are now seeing & understanding what is going on here. It is all now starting to come out - DRAIN THE SWAMP!”
The information about Trump, the Times reported, is currently in the hands of the American intermediary in Europe.