1) The intelligence services get thousands of reports every day and they are not passed on to the president unless they are corroborated. You don’t want POTUS to be worrying about things that are probably not true.
2) We know the NYT report was not completely true because they claimed POTUS was briefed and both the White House and the Director of National Intelligence say otherwise. (Doesn’t President Trump get into lots of trouble when he is thought to be disbelieving of his intel agencies? Are we doing it now?)
3) Seeding false stories to known groups of people is a good way to catch any leakers. If that false story gets out then you are part way to tracking that pathway.
4) Leaking a story and blaming POTUS which will cause MSM outrage then point back to the real story which implicates someone else is a tricky smart move. It lets the MSM commit themselves and makes it harder for them to spin it or backtrack.
This could have been the original story. Note the date. <Iran is paying Taliban fighters $1,000 for each U.S. soldier they kill in Afghanistan> http://www.nbcnews.com/id/39014669/ns/world_news-s…