Donald Trump hits back over Russian information sharing
- Author: Leroy Wright May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 20:02
A senior European intelligence official told the AP his country might stop sharing information with the United States if it confirms that Trump shared classified details with Russian officials.
The New York Times on Tuesday reported that highly classified intelligence, which concerned a terror plot involving the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), came from Israel.
According to United States and diplomatic officials, Israeli intelligence was a source for some of the information about ISIS bomb-making capabilities that the President discussed with Russian diplomats.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said that Trump "in no way undermined sources or methods" while speaking recently with top Russian officials. "I was in the room".
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said Tuesday that while "it is fully within the president's powers" to share highly classified intelligence with whomever he chooses, doing so would be "extremely imprudent" with an adversary such as Russian Federation. The official spoke only on condition that neither he nor his country be identified, because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
McMaster said the premise of an article by The Washington Post is "false".
McMcaster did not deny that Trump discussed classified information.
But Trump tweeted that he shared the information for "humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russian Federation to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism".
The revelations could further damage Trump's already fraught relationship with US intelligence agencies.
The White House on Tuesday defended President Donald Trump's disclosure of classified information to senior Russian officials as "wholly appropriate", as Trump tried to beat back criticism from fellow Republicans and calm global allies increasingly wary about sharing their secrets with the new president. He said Trump discussed a range of subjects with the Russians, including "common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism".
A breach of trust raises the possibility that US friends might curtail such intelligence partnerships out of concern their secrets - and their sources and methods - could end up in the wrong hands. These countries share vast amounts of information and promise not to spy on each other. And members of the House intelligence committee are meeting with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Republicans and Democrats alike are voicing frustration, distrust and irritation Tuesday with the constant stream of controversies coming out of the White House.
The news reverberated around the world as countries started second-guessing their own intelligence-sharing agreements with the U.S. Reporters spent much of the evening camped out outside of Press Secretary Sean Spicer's office, hoping for answers. Associated Press writer Paisley Dodds contributed from London.