Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Donald Trump 'shared highly classified information with Russian officials'

Donald Trump allegedly revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minster Sergei Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in an Oval Office meeting last week.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that Trump shared details of intelligence gathered of an Isis threat that had been closely guarded within the United States government and among close US allies.
The report said that while Trump did not describe the specific source used to gather the intelligence, he provided highly classified details, apparently connected to an Isis plot related to the use of laptops on board passenger aircraft.
The information shared with the Russians is said to have jeopardised a critical intelligence source and been revealed without the consent of the US partner that provided the information to the US.
The meeting, which took place a day after Trump fired FBI director James Comey over what president called “this Russia thing”, has been plagued by controversy. Questions were asked about the  timing of the meeting, as well as the fact that while American reporters were not given any access to the Oval Office, Russian state media was, and took a number of photographs of Trump entertaining Lavrov and Kislyak.
The report of Trump’s indiscretion drew immediate criticism across party lines. David Kochel, Jeb Bush’s top strategist in the 2016 presidential campaign, tweeted: “John McCain probably revealed less to the KGB in 5+ years of torture at the Hanoi Hilton than Trump did in 5 minutes in the Oval.”
Mark Warner, the senior Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, tweeted: “If true, this is a slap in the face to the intel community. Risking sources and methods is inexcusable, particularly with the Russians.”
Trump’s apparent sharing of classified information with Russia is particularly noteworthy after he spent much of the presidential campaign criticizing Hillary Clinton for her use of an unsecured email server.
During the election campaign, Trump tweeted that Clinton’s “extremely careless … handling” of classified information made her “not fit” for office.
The breach of security protocols by the president comes against the backdrop of persistent calls for an independent counsel to oversee an investigation into the way Russia mounted an extensive cyberwarfare operation to influence the presidential election.
The Democratic National Comittee, which suffered damaging hacks during the campaign, issued a statement that read: “Russia no longer has to spy on us to get information – they just ask President Trump and he spills the beans with highly classified information that jeopardizes our national security and hurts our relationships with allies.
“If Trump weren’t president, his dangerous disclosure to Russia could end with him in handcuffs.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment from the Guardian. 

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