Revealed: The highly sensitive Israeli intelligence on Isis that Donald Trump gave away to Russia

Mission deep into Syria revealed after Israeli operatives say President's leak 'confirmed our worst fears'

Jon Sharman
Thursday 23 November 2017 10:01 GMT
H R McMaster talks about Trump giving information to Russia on Israel

Details have emerged of the highly-classified Israeli intelligence revealed by Donald Trump to Russian officials earlier this year.

The US President’s decision to spill the information during a meeting with foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was described as having brought Israeli spies’ “worst fears” to life.

Israel and the US have a close intelligence-sharing relationship but spies from the Middle Eastern nation had previously been warned not to share sensitive details with the Trump White House, according to reports in Israeli media.

During his meeting with Mr Lavrov and the Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, Mr Trump is now said to have revealed the details of a the covert Israeli operation that exposed Isis’ plans to create new laptop bombs and smuggle them aboard commercial airliners.

US reporters were barred from the meeting and the only images that documented it were taken by Russia’s TASS news agency.

Two experts on Israeli intelligence told Vanity Fair the anti-Isis mission took place last winter, the magazine claimed.

Two helicopters flew a team of commandos and Mossad operatives deep into Syria to gain information on a reported new Isis weapon.

They landed some miles from their target and proceeded in vehicles with Syrian Army markings before bugging the Isis cell and getting back out, Vanity Fair reported.

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Unit 8200, Israel’s signals intelligence corps, monitored the broadcasts from the bugs for several days before striking gold – an Isis soldier explaining how to create a bomb from a laptop that would fool airport security.

Israel quickly shared the details with the US, Vanity Fair said. A widespread ban on carrying laptops on plans was announced to travellers in March this year.

Mr Trump also told his Russian guests the specific city in northern Syria that had been targeted, though not the nation that carried out the mission, the magazine reported.

Israel was later named as the source of the intelligence in US media reports.

At the time, US National Security Adviser H R McMaster said the President “wasn’t even aware where this information came from” and “wasn’t briefed on the sources and methods”.

“At no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed,” he said. “The President did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known... I was in the room. It didn’t happen.”

Mr Trump later said he had the “absolute right” to share the intelligence.

One Israeli official, however, told Buzzfeed News: ”We have an arrangement with America which is unique to the world of intelligence sharing. We do not have this relationship with any other country.

“To know that this intelligence is shared with others, without our prior knowledge? That is, for us, our worst fears confirmed.”

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