Turmoil grows over intel Trump leaked to Russian Federation

Posted May 18, 2017

"As President I wanted to share with Russian Federation (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety", Trump tweeted.

The White House has disputed a report that President Donald Trump asked former FBI director James Comey to shut down an investigation into ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn. "We don't routinely share sensitive information with the Russians", the reporter said.

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., a former Marine intelligence officer, has called for the White House to provide Congress with an unaltered transcript of the meeting.

In fact, McMaster said that Trump "was not even aware" of the provenance of the information he provided.

A US official who confirmed the disclosure to The Associated Press said the revelation potentially put the source at risk.

A USA official who confirmed the disclosure to The Associated Press said the revelation potentially put the source at risk.

Trump's Tuesday-morning explanation of why he loosened his lips in last week's meeting with Russia's ambassador and foreign minister: for "humanitarian reasons", tweeted the President - to encourage Russian Federation "to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism". He said the toxic political environment us making the search for truth that much harder, while undermining public trust.

Prof. Pozen said that it remained unclear whether there was any deliberation or consultation involved before Mr. Trump disclosed information to the Russians, or whether "this was just an improvised gesture" on the part of the President.

But when asked about concerns the president could have jeopardised U.S. intelligence relationships, McMaster responded: "I'm not concerned at all". The White House vowed to track down those who disclosed the information. Coming days before Trump's first trip overseas, it also raised questions about his standing with world leaders and led some countries to start second-guessing their own intelligence-sharing agreements with the U.S. In a statement to the New York Times, Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, reaffirmed the close counterterrorism partnership between Israel and the US. “Their on-the-record accounts should outweigh those of anonymous sources” in the news report, he said.

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Shapiro was most concerned, however, that the president's move could make Israel think twice about sharing intelligence with the United States, warning that it will "inevitably cause elements of Israel's intelligence service to demonstrate more caution".

But other nations appeared to be reconsidering. They said the information, which had been provided by a USA partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement, was considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the US government. Risking sources & methods is inexcusable, particularly with the Russians.”. The official spoke only on condition that neither he nor his country be identified, because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Later, reporters could hear senior aides shouting from behind closed doors as they discussed a defence after Washington Post reporters informed them of an article they were writing that first reported the news about the president's divulging of intelligence. After Trump's meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.

But the revelation may have further repercussions beyond Israel, with other countries potentially being unwilling to share intelligence information with Trump.

Trump also reportedly boasted to the Russians about the intelligence he was receiving, telling the two men, "I get great intel". Comey said he replied that "I agree he is a good guy" but said nothing to Trump about limiting the investigation.

Congressional Republicans and Democrats expressed concern about the report.

Putin spoke at a time when in the USA, talk of impeaching Trump has migrated from the fringes of political discourse to the mainstream, as NPR's Domenico Montanaro reports today.

Trump's main guest at last week's meeting was Lavrov, the leading promoter of Russian foreign policies that are often sharply at odds with USA aims in Syria and Europe.

There is no evidence that Trump went through any of those calculations before blurting out what is known as code word information - intelligence-speak for information so highly classified it is above top secret, and usually limited to the smallest possible pool.