James Risen at The Intercept has a strange story to tell. Apparently Matthew Rosenberg at the New York Times was working on the same story. The Intercept story dropped first, and the Times hurried to catch up. I love to imagine the second-to-drop story, where the editor screams into the phone to the reporter to get moving.
It’s a very complex story, and I don’t have an easy summary or analysis. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the Intercept story when I read it because it had no details. Someone said they could sell the stuff stolen from the NSA via Shadow Brokers to someone else in the CIA or maybe the NSA because the CIA wasn’t interested. Oh, and would you like some dirty tapes of Donald Trump? (Say that last in a thick eastern European, or even German, accent.)
The Times has more details and I think a slightly different story, although I will have to read both articles a couple more times to be sure.
My net, at the moment, is that somebody is playing somebody else. What would it mean to “sell back” the stuff stolen from the NSA? Pinky swear that nobody’s got copies?
The big question is who’s playing whom. Is the seller providing disinformation in the hope it will make its way to Mueller’s investigation and undermine it? Is this really the pee tape? A man who can’t quite be identified as Donald Trump talking to two women in a hotel room doesn’t measure up.
Both reporters seem to have talked to real people not from the White House, and the White House seems incapable of ginning up anything this complicated, so I think we can assume that somebody was trying to sell something.
Sorry I can’t supply anything but a thread to crowdsource our thoughts about this bizarre story. I comfort myself with the thought that in an alternative universe, President Hillary Clinton gave a speech at Bard College proposing Medicare for All as a possible model for the healthcare system. The students rioted because she failed to be appropriately intersectional in her choice of subject, and Paul Ryan pontificated about the destruction of the Republic by socialism.
Have at it. I’ll read the articles again and join in.