Israel was source of classified information Trump shared with Russia, say officials

National Security Adviser HR McMaster said earlier that President Trump 'wasn't even aware where this information came from'

Alexandra Wilts
Washington DC
Tuesday 16 May 2017 18:37
President Donald Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
President Donald Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel was reportedly the source of highly sensitive information that Donald Trump gave to Russia.

In a meeting at the White House last week, according to the Washington Post, Mr Trump disclosed intelligence about an Isis terrorist plot to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Some of the information that the US has about the plot came from the Israelis, the New York Times reported, citing a current and a former American official.

There is now question over whether Mr Trump's disclosure of Israel's sensitive information could damage diplomatic relations between the two countries. Mr Trump departs on Friday for his first trip abroad as president, during which he is expected to visit Israel.

In a statement to the New York Times, Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer reaffirmed that Israel has full confidence in its intelligence-sharing relationship with the US.

During a White House press briefing, US National Security Adviser HR McMaster said that the president "wasn’t even aware where this information came from" and "wasn’t briefed on the sources and methods".

The revelation that Mr Trump revealed classified details to the Russians has drawn criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike, but Mr McMaster defended the president.

“What the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information between the president and any leaders with whom he’s engaged,” Mr McMaster said.

In an early morning tweet, Mr Trump said he had the "absolute right" to share facts pertaining to terrorism.

Under current US law, the president has the power to declassify information as he or she sees fit.

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