So The Washington Post broke the story that Jared Kushner allegedly wanted to do something which is neither unprecedented nor necessarily illegal. (Build a backchannel to the Russians.) Big deal. The more interesting part is how the paper says it learned this.
WaPo claims it learned this because its sources were briefed on the contents of “intercepts of Russian communications”. Supposedly the Russian Ambassador in the US told Moscow of Kushner’s proposal and the message was intercepted and decoded by US intelligence. (WaPo only says it was intercepted but surely a message like that is also encrypted.)
The Washington Post itself explains that if this is true the Russians would not have been aware the US is able to do that:
Russia at times feeds false information into communication streams it suspects are monitored as a way of sowing misinformation and confusion among U.S. analysts. But officials said that it’s unclear what Kislyak would have had to gain by falsely characterizing his contacts with Kushner to Moscow, particularly at a time when the Kremlin still saw the prospect of dramatically improved relations with Trump.
Well WaPo just made sure that is no longer the case. As Patrick Lang points out, by splashing open the contents of private Russian communications for all the world to see, it has revealed to Russians the NSA is able to break the code on their embassy chatter, and that an upgrade is in order.
In other words, for the sake of causing some minor embarrassment to the President the Washington Post struck a major blow against US intelligence. They can no longer listen in on the Russians.
It’s certainly a bigger favor to the Russians than either Trump or Kushner have ever done, so who is really the Russian agent here? Were conservatives right about the Pravda on the Potomac all along?
Either that or the entire story is fake. E.g. the US intelligence really learned of Kushner’s proposal by wiretapping Kushner, or he never made the alleged proposal to the Russian Ambassador in the first place.