Trump’s ‘Sharing’ Causes Concern
Trump’s ‘sharing’ of classified information with Russia might have future consequences. According to various newspaper reports Trump discussed sensitive state secrets about ISIS with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting last week at the White House. The Washington Post reported that, aside from the leaked information that the disclosures also jeopardized a critical source of intelligence of ISIS. Sources also told the paper that the shared information was so sensitive that the same details have been withheld from allies and from some within the US government. The information apparently involved an ISIS threat about the use of laptop computers on an aircraft. The US did not have the source’s permission to share the intel with Russia.
Will This Cause People, Countries to Lose Trust?
Trump’s ‘sharing’ has caused lawmakers to express concern, following the release of the report, that allies would no longer be interested in sharing intelligence with the US if they could not trust the President. Today those concerns were partly answered. A high-ranking European intelligence official told the Associated Press that his country could stop sharing intelligence with the US if it is proven that Trump gave classified information to the Russians. The official told AP that sharing information with the US could now “be a risk for our sources.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, if the leaking is true it “sends a troubling signal to America’s allies and partners around the world and may impair their willingness to share intelligence with us in the future.”
German lawmaker Burkhard Lischka said it “would be highly worrying if he passes this information to other governments at will, then Trump becomes a security risk for the entire western world.” The undisclosed country that reportedly shared the information in the first place had reportedly warned the US officials previously that it would cut off the intelligence flow if it was abused. During the meeting with the Russians, although Trump did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, he did reveal the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the US intelligence partner detected the threat.
Trying to defend the president last night several prominent members of his national security team publicly denied the story in the Post. National Security Advisor McMaster and Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell called the story “false.” This put them both out on a limb to defend the president.
This morning Trump threw them both under the bus when he twittered: “As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining (end first tweet sent at 4:03 am)…to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism” (end second tweet sent at 4:13 am).