The meetings began in early 2017 after a massive 2016 breach of top-secret cyber weapons from the NSA. U.S. intelligence authorities believe the Russians obtained the documents through a mysterious hacker group called the Shadow Brokers, who gained access to many of the hacking tools used in foreign espionage by the U.S.
The NSA is now trying to contain the damage after vital information on America’s espionage tools was outed.
Russians involved in the meetings have also begun offering to sell information on Trump campaign officials in connection with the concerted Russian government effort to influence the 2016 election.
According to a New York Times report published Friday, U.S. intelligence officials said that they told a Russian offering both NSA cyber weapons and material related to President Trump that they did not want the information about the real estate mogul.
U.S. spies agreed to a $1 million payout to obtain the NSA tools from the Russian, according to the report. They paid $100,000 as a first installment.
But the Russian never gave U.S. agents the NSA tools, the Times reported. Instead, they were handed salacious and unverified information about Trump. After that, the U.S. officials ended their deal with the Russian due to concerns about possible political fallout and fears of a Russian plan to stir chaos within the U.S. government.
The Russian operators’ connections with the Russian government remain unclear.
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