Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to Russia during White House meeting, Washington Post says

Extract from ABC News

Updated 12 minutes ago

United States President Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to the Russian Foreign Minister during their meeting last week, potentially jeopardising a source of intelligence about Islamic State (IS), The Washington Post has reported, citing current and former US officials.
The newspaper said the information Mr Trump relayed to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak had been provided by a US partner through a highly sensitive intelligence-sharing arrangement.
The partner had not given Washington permission to share the material with Moscow, and Mr Trump's decision to do so risks cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the IS militant group, the Post said, citing the unnamed officials.
During his Oval Office meeting with Mr Lavrov and Mr Kislyak, Mr Trump went off-script and began describing details about an IS threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft, the officials told the Post.
While discussing classified matters with an adversary would be illegal for most people, the President has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that Mr Trump's disclosures broke the law, the Post said.

White House meeting came soon after Comey dismissal

Mr Trump's meeting with Mr Lavrov and Mr Kislyak at the White House came a day after he fired FBI director James Comey, who was leading the agency's investigation into possible links between Mr Trump's presidential campaign and Moscow.

Asked about the disclosures, Mr Trump's national security adviser HR McMaster, who participated in the meeting, said no intelligence sources or methods were discussed that were not already known publicly, the Post reported.
Asked by Reuters about the Post story, General McMaster declined to comment.
US officials have said US agencies are in the process of drawing up plans to expand a ban on passengers carrying laptop computers onto US-bound flights from several countries in conflict zones due to new intelligence about how militant groups are refining techniques for installing bombs in laptops.
So serious are assessments of the increased threat that Washington is considering banning passengers from several European countries, including Britain, from carrying laptops in a cabin on US-bound flights.
The US has consulted about the intelligence with allied governments and airlines.

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