Trump sharing ‘highly classified’ intel with Russians jeopardizes Israeli intelligence

Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russians, in the oval office no less, and his Tea-Publican supporters who chanted “lock her up!” over the mere possibility that Hillary Clinton’s emails may have been intercepted by hackers or foreign goverments (there is no evidence this occurred), respond to Trump’s gratuitous sharing of highly classified intelligence with his Russian handlers with a ‘Seriously? This is Not News’:

President Trump disclosed highly classified intelligence to Russian officials in a meeting last week, a government official said on Monday. The disclosure was not illegal, since presidents have the power to declassify nearly anything, but the sharing of sensitive intelligence provided by Israel, one of the United States’ most important allies in the Middle East, was disclosed without their permission.

Mr. Trump defended his disclosure on Twitter, saying it was his “absolute right” to do so.

Actually, it’s not so clear cut. As Steve Vladeck explains, Trump’s disclosures to the Russians might actually have been illegal.

While the sycophant conservative media entertainment complex Spins an Alternative Narrative About the Crises Around Trump to explain away his bizarre behavior, the release of classified intelligence could have very real and dangerous repercussions on national security and the global fight against terrorism, experts told ABC News. High stakes involved in Trump’s revelations to Russia:

Danny Yatom, the former director of Israel’s spy agency Mossad, warns that even if Trump didn’t reveal the source — which McMaster said the president didn’t know at the time of the conversation with the Russian officials — or methods of how the U.S. obtained the intelligence, it could still put the source in danger.

“Sometimes damage is caused from the content of the revelation, even if he does not say the methods and sources,” Yatom told The Jerusalem Post.

“The fact that you have very high-quality sensitive intelligence can lead to revealing the source. Very few people in ISIS may know about this information. Once it is publicized, ISIS can do an investigation and find the source,” Yatom added.

John Cohen, an ABC News contributor and a former counterterrorism and intelligence official at the Department of Homeland Security, said that such revelations could have consequences down the road in cut ties from intelligence sources.

“It creates the risk that the original provider of the information will be less inclined to share sensitive intelligence in the future,” he said.

* * *

Yatom described how they would have been operating from an understanding that such information would not be shared with others. “If someone gives the U.S. very sensitive information… it is prohibited to give the information to a third party — for sure not to Russia who has ties with Iran and Syria,” he told The Jerusalem Post.

Cohen said lives could be in danger as a result of the disclosure.

This type of intelligence comes from very sensitive collection capabilities; it could be somebody undercover, it could be that an intelligence service has been able to bug a laptop or a cellphone… [and the disclosure] could result in someone getting killed. It could result in terrorists changing the way they communicate.”

Cohen said if the report about Trump’s disclosure is true, “This is an extraordinarily serious issue and it should be taken very seriously by all Americans because it potentially could lead to our lessening of our ability to obtain vital information and that could increase the risk to the safety of Americans.”

Demonstrating for all the world to see how he owns his “useful idiot,” Putin trolled Donald Trump today. Putin Offers to Provide a ‘Record’ of Trump’s Disclosures to Russian Envoys:

Asserting himself abroad with his customary disruptive panache, President Vladimir V. Putin on Wednesday jumped into the furor over President Trump’s disclosure of classified information to Russian diplomats, declaring that nothing secret had been revealed and that he could prove it.

Mr. Putin, who has a long record of seizing on foreign crises to make Russia’s voice heard, announced during a news conference in Sochi, Russia, the Black Sea resort that has become his equivalent of Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, that he has a “record” of the American president’s meeting at the White House with two senior Russian officials and was ready to give it to Congress — so long as Mr. Trump does not object.

Referring to reports that Mr. Trump had revealed highly classified intelligence, Mr. Putin said, “It’s hard to imagine what else these people who generate such nonsense and rubbish can dream up next.”

* * *

As with many of Mr. Putin’s maneuvers, his offer to release a record of the White House meeting with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, and its Washington ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, seemed designed to unnerve and confuse.

For a start, the offer left everyone guessing about what kind of “record” Mr. Putin has of his diplomats’ meeting with Mr. Trump. Intentionally or otherwise, Mr. Putin muddied the waters by using a Russian word that can mean both audio recording and a written account. A Kremlin aide, Yury Ushakov, later clarified that Moscow has in its possession a written transcript, not a tape.

“I think Putin gets personal pleasure from exploiting the vulnerable position Trump has found himself in,” said Valeriy Solovey, a professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. “Putin feels superior and this flatters him.”

* * *

Mr. Putin’s offer, he added, was “pure rhetoric because the condition is that Trump should sign up to the idea. The American side should give its permission and this is a big problem. How can it give its permission if secret matters were discussed?”

And even if the White House does assent to the release of the Russian record, making it public is unlikely to clear the air, Mr. Makarkin said. “If Russia published a transcript, people wouldn’t believe it anyway,” he added. “The media can say that not everything was published and that this document cannot be trusted,”

* * *

Making light of the Oval Office episode and the value of Mr. Trump’s disclosure, Mr. Putin joked that he would reprimand Mr. Lavrov because “he hasn’t shared those secrets with us.”

Former Israeli intelligence officials expressed grave concern over reports President Trump divulged secrets to the Russians provided by Israel, breaking with the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which in the wake of the revelation sought to portray the bilateral ties as business as usual. Former top Israeli officials break with government line and call Trump leak very troubling:

Amid questions over the leak, Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Wednesday reported that Trump spoke with Netanyahu by phone. It further stoked speculation about Israel’s involvement in the controversy.

“What Trump did is liable to cause heavy damage to Israel’s security, as well as the source, and U.S. security,’’ Danny Yatom, a former chief of the Mossad, Israel’s international spy agency, said in an interview with a Tel Aviv radio station. “Especially if this information reaches our good friends the Iranians.”

Yatom said that if such shared intelligence information isn’t guarded, the relations will be undermined.

“There will be a loss of faith between the intelligence services,” he said.

* * *

In contrast, less than a week before Trump is scheduled to arrive in Israel for an official visit, Israeli government officials were either tight-lipped or hailing the relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

The uproar in the U.S. over Trump’s divulging of classified intelligence to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about Islamic State threatened to overshadow Trump’s visit.

Trump is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Monday from Saudi Arabia and is slated to give a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

* * *

In contrast, less than a week before Trump is scheduled to arrive in Israel for an official visit, Israeli government officials were either tight-lipped or hailing the relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

The uproar in the U.S. over Trump’s divulging of classified intelligence to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about Islamic State threatened to overshadow Trump’s visit.

Trump is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Monday from Saudi Arabia and is slated to give a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

* * *

Netanyahu’s office confirmed that the two leaders had spoken for about 20 minutes on Tuesday, but would only say that the discussion dealt solely with the upcoming visit.

“Clearly, the last thing Netanyahu needs now, on the eve of a visit in which Trump is likely to saddle him with a new and ambitious initiative for peace with the Palestinians, is an intelligence crisis with the Americans,’’ wrote Amos Harel, a military columnist for Haaretz. “Even if Israel was harmed by Trump’s behavior, it won’t rush to make this public.”

The Israeli spy inserted in ISIS, and all of his known contacts, are now in jeopardy. People’s lives are in danger because Trump wanted to brag to his Russian handlers about what “great intelligence” he receives, with little or no knowledge or concern that it was highly classified intelligence, and he had no permission from Israel to share it with Russia.

It is now an open question whether our intelligence partners are willing to share intelligence with the U.S., because they cannot trust Donald Trump to protect highly classified intelligence. That puts the U.S. at a disadvantage in a dangerous world.

8 Responses to Trump sharing ‘highly classified’ intel with Russians jeopardizes Israeli intelligence

  1. when did this blog start caring for bejamin netayhu’s israel? by the way if interfering in an american election was a crime netanyahu would be in jail cell here instead of a jail cell in israel where he may be very soon.

  2. Senator John Kavanagh

    Cut through all the BS and wishful thinking and we wind up with Trump did nothing illegal and Israel has not expressed any disapproval or concern.

    Why not attack people calling this an impeachable offense? They are the ones who are wrong.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      You elected a mentally ill reality TV game show host and admitted sex offender with five different children from three different baby-mama’s and multiple bankruptcies who couldn’t keep a freakin’ casino open for more than 6 months and who has a history of working with organized crime in countries all over the world.

      And now you’re confused as to why he’s under investigation?

      For the party of “extreme vetting” you suck at actually vetting.

      • “You elected a mentally ill reality TV game show host and admitted sex offender with five different children from three different baby-mama’s and multiple bankruptcies who couldn’t keep a freakin’ casino open for more than 6 months and who has a history of working with organized crime in countries all over the world.”

        Tom, sometimes the way you allow your fake outrage, hyperbole and wild imagination to pass for a sound argument is amazing. LOL…

    • For Sure Not Tom

      How about you read the WSJ, Israel is pissed bigly.

      Or is the Wall Street Journal fake news now?

      • Sen. John Kavanagh

        You mean the WSJ article saying Israel is playing it down and has complete confidence in the American intelligence community?

        • For Sure Not Tom

          “But the WSJ reports that privately, Israeli officials are “fuming.” Also, a key intelligence source that was stopping airplanes from being blown up might be compromised, so there’s that.”

          And complete confidence in the “American intelligence community” is NOT the same as complete confidence in “Donald Trump”.

          I realize you are owned by GEO and Trump/Sessions are creating a prison state, so I’m sure you personally will do very well, but you’re putting party over country.

          That’s low even for you.