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White House fails to deny Donald Trump leaked classified information to Russia

President's national security advisor spoke claims that ‘at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed’

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Tuesday 16 May 2017 13:30 BST
White House statement on Russia 'intelligence leak'

The White House has been accused of "playing word games" after it failed to deny allegations that Donald Trump leaked highly classified information about Isis to Russia in a meeting last week, claiming instead that “at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed”.

The President met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the White House a day after firing former FBI chief James Comey.

He allegedly shared highly classified information during the meeting about an Isis plot that could lead to the discovery of intelligence sources, according to the Washington Post.

Current and former US officials who spoke to the newspaper said Mr Trump shared information that jeopardised an intelligence source with access to Isis' operations. Mr Trump allegedly “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies,” a US official familiar with the matter said.

Mr Trump’s national security advisor, HR McMaster, who had been present at the meeting, appeared outside the White House on Monday to comment on the report. He said “the story that came out tonight, as reported, is false”.

“At no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the President did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials who were present, including the Secretary of State, remembered the meeting the same way and said so. The on-the-record accounts should outweigh those of anonymous sources,” he said.

“I was in the room, it didn’t happen,” he added.

The Washington Post has published an article responding to the statement, highlighting Mr McMaster’s denial that intelligence sources or methods were discussed during the meeting, and countering that “the Post’s reporting doesn’t say that they were”.

“The report states clearly only that Mr Trump discussed an Isis plot and the city where the plot was detected by an intelligence-gathering partner. Officials worried this information could lead to the discovery of the methods and sources involved, but it didn’t say Mr Trump discussed them,” the newspaper stated.

It added that the military operations referenced by Mr McMaster “aren’t even alluded to” in the report.

Speaking to CNN, Greg Miller, who authored the story with Greg Jaffe, stood by his story and said: “I think that the White House is playing word games” and it was trying to “blunt the impact” of the story.

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