Israel Source of Highly Classified Info. Trump Revealed to Russians: Officialsby Brie Stimson May 16, 2017
Israel was the source of at least part of the highly classified information that President Trump shared with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in an Oval Office meeting last week, according to the New York Times.
The Washington Post first broke the news Tuesday that Trump had revealed sensitive information regarding an ISIS terrorist plot that included “code word Information” about a plot to use laptops in airplane bombings. “Code word” intelligence is above the highest level of classification, with limited access and special security protocols.
Two American officials, one current and one former familiar with the matter, said Israel had previously urged the government to be careful with the information. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to discuss the matter.
President Trump’s reveal of the intelligence to Lavrov and Kislyak could have detrimental consequences to the United States’ relationship with Israel and could possibly be passed to Iran, Russia’s closest ally in the region – and Israel’s main threat.
Israel is one of the U.S.’s main intelligence collector’s in the region, and Trump’s purported boasting of the intelligence could make the country rethink intelligence sharing with our government in the future.
Israel would not confirm they were the source of the intelligence given to the Russians, and Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. gave a statement to the New York Times that said the two countries would maintain a close counterintelligence relationship.
Trump’s passing classified information to the Russians, while possibly imprudent, would likely not result in a crime because as president he has the right to declassify anything he deems fit.
National security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster said on Tuesday the “premise” of Monday’s Washington Post article was false, and said that no sources or methods had been disclosed during the meeting, an assertion the Post never claimed. He said the president’s discussion was “wholly appropriate” and “consistent” with routine intelligence sharing, but admitted the president made a spur-of-the-moment decision to share the information.
Israeli newspapers reported in January that American officials warned Israeli counterparts to be selective in what they shared with the Trump White House because it could be leaked to Russia.
Trump will be visiting Israel as part of his first overseas trip as president at the end of this week.
Photo Credit: @RusEmbUSA