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  • Last week, a leaked email showed that the US government offered millions of dollars to the captain of an Iranian oil tanker in exchange for letting the ship be captured.
  • It opened a window onto a species of US covert operation which has run for years but rarely been known to the public.
  • In defense and security circles, many were incredulous that the offer would be committed to email.
  • “How f—ing stupid are they?” asked one source, suggesting that the leak will do damage beyond one embarrassing news cycle.

Last week the ongoing saga of US attempts to hinder the passage of an Iranian-flagged oil tanker traversing the Mediterranean took a bizarre turn, when it became public knowledge that the ship’s captain was offered a large payment by the US government to defect.

Although unusual in many respects, the offer brought to light a practise that many consider an open secret: that the US will pay key individuals millions of dollars to betray its enemies.

The offer came to the captain of Adrian Darya-1, a tanker which was detained by UK forces in the Mediterranean, but later let go.

After its release, an email from State Department official Brian Hook, leaked to the Financial Times, exposed an offer from the US government. The captain was told he would secure millions of dollars, and a new life in the US, if he would sail the ship to a port where it could be recaptured. Read more

Read also: The US had to extract a top spy from Russia after Trump revealed classified information to the Russians in an Oval Office meeting

Last week the ongoing saga of US attempts to hinder the passage of an Iranian-flagged oil tanker traversing the Mediterranean took a bizarre turn, when it became public knowledge that the ship’s captain was offered a large payment by the US government to defect.

Last week the ongoing saga of US attempts to hinder the passage of an Iranian-flagged oil tanker traversing the Mediterranean took a bizarre turn, when it became public knowledge that the ship’s captain was offered a large payment by the US government to defect.