The CIA is denying a story by The New York Times and The Intercept that it was swindled out of $100,000 during secret negotiations with a Russian hacker. The Times and the Intercept originally reported that U.S. spies paid the funds to a Russian who said he could provide them with previously stolen hacking software from the National Security Agency.
“The fictional story that CIA was bilked out of $100,000 is patently false,” the agency said in a statement. “The people swindled here were James Risen and Matt Rosenberg,” the CIA added, referring to The Intercept and The New York Times reporters, respectively, who wrote the stories.
The story also claimed that the Russian offered to provide damaging information about President Trump which he CIA said it didn’t want. The story alleges that the money came from “an indirect channel” and not from the CIA directly, and that the CIA ended the deal with the Russian hacker because of the security risk and the potential political exposure if the story became public.