Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador

May 16, 2017

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In:Russia, USA

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According to current and former U.S. officials, President Trump revealed a confidential information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week. He officials also said that the information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered to be so sensitive that details have been suspended from associates and closely restricted even within the U.S. government.

The action done by the president to Russia was not permitted by its partner. This may endanger cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. According to the U.S. official, what the president revealed to the Russian ambassador was more than what they shared to their own allies.

Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak into the Oval Office. During their meeting, Trump discussed details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.

Discussing such confidential thing in the government is illegal, but since president Donald Trump has wide authority to release government secrets, making it unlikely that his revelations broke the law.

H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, who participated in the meeting said that, “The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation. At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”

Officials expressed their concern about President Trump’s handling of sensitive information and his awareness about potential consequences.

The former senior U.S. official who is close to current administration officials said that, “It is all kind of shocking. Trump seems to be very reckless and doesn’t grasp the gravity of the things he’s dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security. And it’s all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia.”

The former senior U.S. counterterrorism official who also worked closely with members of the Trump national security team said that, “Everyone knows this stream is very sensitive, and the idea of sharing it at this level of granularity with the Russians is troubling.” He and other officials are talking about the sensitivity if the information.

U.S. and Russia both sees Islamic State as an enemy and also share incomplete information about terrorist threats.

But this is one thing that the U.S. officials are wondering, “Russia could identify our sources or techniques.” But a former intelligence official who handled high-level intelligence on Russia said that given the clues Trump provided, “I don’t think that it would be that hard for Russian spy services to figure this out.”

With this, U.S. officials said that the National Security Council continues to provide multi-page briefings for Trump to guide him in conversing with foreign leaders. On the other hand, Trump has insisted that the guidance be distilled to a single page of bullet points — and often ignores those.