In the hours since a private firm s intelligence document leaked to the web, alleging 35 pages of President-elect Donald Trump s dirty laundry—complete with corrupt ties to Russian officials, blackmail, and bodily fluids—Twitter, Facebook, and cable news have become a feeding frenzy.
But former intelligence agents see it differently: To borrow the phrase often applied to Trump himself, they re taking it seriously, not literally.
The document includes reports from unnamed sources claiming that the Kremlin has cultivated Trump as a Putin-friendly politician for the last half decade, recorded him in blackmail-worthy perverted sexual acts, and made secret deals with his campaign to exchange information.
While Buzzfeed acknowledges that the document is unverified, it says it decided to publish it so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.
At the very least, the document is no hoax: According to CNN and the Guardian, senior intelligence officials presented a two-page summary of its contents to both Trump and President Obama.
But those who spent their careers in the intelligence world are reading the report with more tempered skepticism, what ex-CIA analyst Patrick Skinner describes as interested caution.