Domingo, 27 May, 2018

Trump says he has 'absolute right' to share facts with Russians

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows President Donald Trump meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Wednesday Trump says he has 'absolute right' to share facts with Russians
Irune Rengel | 17 May, 2017, 06:53

Israel, a close ally of the United States, was the source of secret intelligence that President Donald Trump reportedly shared with Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week, according to multiple reports. But the classified information he shared with a geopolitical foe was nonetheless explosive, having been provided by a critical USA partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so delicate that some details were withheld even from top allies and other government officials.

Citing current and former U.S. officials, the Post said Trump shared details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.

Furthermore, under US law, the President of the United States is our nation's ultimate classification authority.

We don't know if these sources lied, misrepresented what went on in the Trump meeting with the Russians, or were second-guessing what Trump told them.

The White House trotted out national security adviser H.R. McMaster on Monday night to issue a statement. When asked if he stood by his statement on Monday evening that the Washington Post article that first reported the disclosure of classified intelligence was "false", McMaster slightly hedged.

Senior German lawmaker Burkhard Lischka told the Associated Press that if the president "passes this information to other governments at will, then Trump becomes a security risk for the entire western world".

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Today, McMaster defended Trump's sharing of the information, calling it "wholly appropriate" to the conversation taking place and "consistent" with "routine" sharing of information "between the president and any leader with whom he's engaged".

Did President Trump slip and accidently tell the Russians something classified?

"At no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the President did not disclose any military operations that weren't already publicly known", McMaster said. "Trump later said he did share information about "terrorism and airline flight safety" with Russian Federation".

The UK, Australia, and New Zealand are all members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing program, along with the U.S. and Canada.

The last week meeting between Trump, Lavrov and Kislyak had already raised alarm bells in Washington, primarily because it came one day after Trump made a decision to fire FBI Director James Comey while the bureau investigated the President campaign's alleged ties to Russian Federation.

Over several days, USA intelligence officials spent hours on conference calls making specific requests to CNN to withhold certain details of the intelligence information. Last week, White House spokespeople stepped forward to explain the circumstances under with FBI Director James B. Comey had been fired, pointing to his handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation and saying the decision originated in the Justice Department.

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Afterward, White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency, the newspaper said.

The CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have declined to comment.

"And with no one to head the investigation at the FBI and the House Intelligence Committee failing to remain independent, it's time to turn the probe over to an outside commission", she said.

Collins said any disclosure "has the potential to jeopardize sources and to discourage our allies from sharing future information vital to our security", while King told Portland-based NBC affiliate WCSH it could "result in the loss of important intelligence sources and the cooperation of partners".

Mark Hertling, a national security, intelligence and terrorism analyst for CNN, said giving Russian Federation information has not historically led to them being forthcoming with the United States. "It's his first face-to-face with the Russians and the secretary of state and the President can't say, "You shouldn't be meddling in our election" but he can fire Comey for investigating that?" While Trump didn't reveal the specific methods that developed the information or sources, he described elements of a specific plot and the city in Islamic State's territory where the threat was detected, the Post said.

The White House, in response to reporters' questions, has only minimized the nature of the information, suggesting some of it could be easily found on the Internet.

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Muffled yelling was heard coming from the area near the room, but after a reporter tweeted about the noise, press staffers quickly turned up their television volume, blasting the sound to drown out everything else.

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