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Donald Trump 'handed Russia classified intelligence on Israel successfully hacking Isis computers'

Israeli cyber operations had reportedly succeeded in penetrating one of the terror group's cell

Benjamin Kentish
Tuesday 13 June 2017 15:08 BST
Donald Trump was reported to have passed classified information to Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting
Donald Trump was reported to have passed classified information to Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Donald Trump reportedly told Russian officials that Israel had successfully hacked Isis computers in order to gain intelligence about bomb plots against the West.

The Middle Eastern country's security services had succeeded in penetrating a “small cell” of Isis bomb makers in Syria, The New York Times reported, citing two US officials. Israel is said to have uncovered evidence of a plot to bring down an aeroplane using a bomb hidden in a laptop, the newspaper said.

The intelligence was said to be so detailed that it enabled US security agencies to understand precisely how Isis was planning to create a bomb that resembled a laptop battery so closely that it would pass undetected through airport X-ray scanners.

They were also able to learn how the weapon could be detonated.

In response, Donald Trump announced a ban on large electronic devices being carried in the cabin of flights to the US from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries. Britain also adopted a similar ban.

The intelligence, gathered by Israeli cyber warfare operations, was reportedly part of the classified information that Mr Trump is accused of giving to Russia’s US ambassador, Sergey Kisylak, and its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, during a meeting in the Oval Office last month.

The allegation that the US President had gifted classified intelligence to a rival country led to a diplomatic row. Israel is said to be furious that secret information it had passed to the US had then been given to another country.

It seemed to verify reports earlier this year that officials in the Obama administration had warned their Israeli counterparts about sharing intelligence with Mr Trump and his team because of concerns that sensitive information could be shared with Russia and then leaked to Iran.

Mr Trump’s team denied he had done anything wrong in sharing information with Russia.

Speaking shortly after news of Mr Trump's leak was reported, H.R McMaster, the President’s national security adviser, said the Republican and the Russian officials had “reviewed common threats from terrorist organisations to include threats to aviation.”

“At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly”, he said.

Mr McMaster added that the President’s decision to share information was “wholly appropriate”.

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