Government - Trump Leaks Classified Info To Russians
Donald Trump leaked highly classified and "beyond top secret" information while bragging to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during their meeting in the Oval Office last week, according to a bombshell report in the Washington Post.
The information had been given to the US by one of its intelligence gathering partners and involved sensitive information from the inner workings of the so-called Islamic State (IS). The partner did not give permission for the information to be shared, and it is feared that Trump's seemingly spur-of-the-moment decision will jeopardize further cooperation from this very important source.
What's worse is that Trump didn't have any pressing strategic or geopolitical reason to share the information about IS plans to use a laptop computer to bomb an airplane with the Russians; the braggadocios clown was simply showing off to his guests about his access to classified information and went off-script.
"I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day," Trump said, as quoted by one of several US sources familiar with the exchange who later relayed or confirmed the story to the Washington Post. Trump revealed the city in IS-controlled territory where the US intelligence partner detected the laptop threat, information that could lead to the identification of the asset - perhaps by the Russians, and shared with whoever the Russians share with. The newspaper says that Trump "also described measures the United States has taken or is contemplating to counter the threat, including military operations in Iraq and Syria, as well as other steps to tighten security".
Technically, a US president is allowed to declassify top secret information for strategic purposes, although this doesn't appear to be the case. After the controversial meeting, the White House tried to contain the damage by placing calls to the CIA and NSA to let them know about Trump's leak.
To be clear, Russia is not America's friend in Syria; Moscow is supporting President Bashir al-Assad, the US is backing rebel groups that want to oust him. And Ambassador Kislyak has figured in two previous Trump scandals including the demise of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and some in the intel community reportedly believe that Kislyak is a spy recruiter. And according to the paper's source, Trump "revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies'.
This happened during the same week that Trump fired FBI director James Comey in the midst of a bureau investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow. At the rate this guy is pissing off spies and feds, one would think that anyone employed by the administration would avoid standing on street corners or go for a drive in Dealey Plaza.
To top it off, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster called a hasty news conference on the White House grounds to issue a terse and clumsy "non-denial denial".
"At no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed, and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known," and, "I was in the room, and it didn't happen," McMaster said before scurrying back inside. But the Washington Post report didn't say that Trump did any of that, merely that he exposed classified information.
Which is bad enough.
Top Republicans are finally to express concern after months of staying silent through wave after wave of stupidity.
"Obviously, they are in a downward spiral right now and have got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that's happening," said Sen. Bob Corker, a Trump ally on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"If true, deeply disturbing," said Sen. John McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate, in a tweet.
"This is appalling. If accidental, it would be a firing offense for anyone else. If deliberate, it would be treason," said Eliot Cohen, a former counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice under President George W. Bush.
House Democratic Leader and California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi is insisting that lawmakers "must be given a full briefing on the extent of the damage President Trump has done in compromising highly classified code-word intelligence to the Russians."
"Even if President Trump unwittingly blew a highly classified code-word source to the Russians, that would be dangerous enough," Rep. Pelosi said. "If the President outed a highly classified code-word source intentionally, that would be even more dangerous."