European official says their country might stop sharing intelligence with US if Trump leaked to Russia

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Tuesday 16 May 2017 14:54
Comments
President Donald Trump gives the commencement address for the class of 2017 at Liberty University, founded by the Christian televangelist Jerry Falwell
President Donald Trump gives the commencement address for the class of 2017 at Liberty University, founded by the Christian televangelist Jerry Falwell

A European country has reportedly said it may stop sharing intelligence with the US, if it transpires Donald Trump provided classified information to Russia.

In a warning that will further add to concerns about the US intelligence community amid the fallout of Mr Trump’s actions, the senior official said they may take that step, despite the President’s claim that he had the right to share the details with Russia.

The Associated Press did not identify which country the official came from, but the official said sharing intelligence with Washington, “could be a risk for our sources”.

The warning came as Mr Trump and the White House sought both to deny some of the claims initially made by the Washington Post in its article about the president’s leaking of information to Russia, and defend his actions.

In a series of tweets, Mr Trump sought to defend his actions and issue a warning to those who had leaked the information to the media.

“I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled WH meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining ... to terrorism and airline flight safety,” he wrote. “Plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”

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The Post said that Mr Trump shared details about an Isis terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak. The information had come from a third country, apparently in the Middle East, that had asked that it be closely held.

Indeed, so sensitive was the information that it was considered “code word classified”, one of the highest levels of classification used by the US intelligence community.

Reports said that Mr Trump later was informed he had broken protocol and White House officials placed calls to the National Security Agency and the CIA in move to try and minimise any damage.

The White House has pushed back against those reports, but not denied that classified information was disclosed in the May 10 meeting between Mr Trump and Russian diplomats. The Kremlin dismissed the reports as “complete nonsense”.

Senior Republican John McCain, a senator from Arizona, said the report of Mr Trump sharing the information with Russia was “deeply disturbing”.

“Regrettably, the time President Trump spent sharing sensitive information with the Russians, was time he did not spend focussing on Russia’s aggressive behaviour, including its interference in American and European elections, it’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea,” he said.

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