Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Donald Trump hits back over Russian information sharing

Donald Trump hits back over Russian information sharing

Trump has come under fire following news reports that he shared sensitive intelligence about the Islamic State militants with Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak during a meeting at the White House.

Meanwhile the White House, which had tried to hose down the story yesterday, has changed tactics. The former USA officials requested anonymity in order to discuss the handling of classified information.

Trump last week shared highly classified information with senior Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting, putting at risk a source of intelligence on the Islamic State group, according to a current US official. The revelation that Trump boasted about some of Israel's most sensitive information to the Russians could damage the relationship between the two countries.

Another former Mossad chief, Shabtai Shavit, told the Times of Israel: "If tomorrow I were asked to pass information to the Central Intelligence Agency, I would do everything I could to not pass it to them". But a photographer from a Russian state-media attended the meeting and took photos of a laughing Trump with Lavrov and Kislyak. One now serving official tells me that many people within the system are trying to keep their heads down - and keep their integrity intact.

The White House hasn't denied that the President appears to have let the Russian government in on information so highly sensitive that the USA government had previously told CNN that publishing it would endanger lives and destroy intelligence-gathering methods used to keep an eye on terrorist groups. At least some of the details that the United States has about the plot came from the Israelis, the officials said.

As President, Mr Trump has the power to disclose classified information as he chooses.

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A senior USA official who asked not to be identified told the Associated Press the classified information had been shared with the president by an ally, violating the confidentiality of an intelligence-sharing agreement with that country.

One: "President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre", Conway said February 3 on MSNBC. The official spoke only on condition that neither he nor his country be identified, because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The Senate intelligence committee has already demanded a briefing on what was said at the meeting from members of the Trump administration who were present.

The Kremlin dismissed the reports of Trump's actions as "complete nonsense".

On Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans alike expressed concern. Sen. The report quoted former and current USA officials saying, "The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the United States government".

Asked what he thinks of the Trump presidency, Mr Putin said it is up to the American people to judge but his performance can only be rated "only when he's allowed to work at full capacity", implying that someone is hampering President Trump's efforts. Two sources told CNN that the information was classified.

Asked why the NSA and Central Intelligence Agency were put on notice if the revelations were not problematic, McMaster cast the notification as being provided "from an overabundance of caution".

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"The premise of that article is false that in any way the President had a conversation that was inappropriate or that resulted in any kind of lapse in national security".

"The president was emphasizing we have some common interests here". The sensitivity is heightened because the Russians share information closely with the Syrian regime.

The latest controversy surrounding Trump comes at a sensitive time because the president was already facing criticism for firing his Federal Bureau of Investigation director, who was investigating connections between Trump associates and Russian officials.

The termination letter from President Donald Trump to FBI Director James Comey is photographed in Washington, Tuesday, May 9, 2017.

There are three levels of classification of USA intelligence material.

Russia, a top espionage concern for the USA, is different. Trump abruptly fired Comey, ousting the nation's top law enforcement official in the midst of an investigation into whether Trump's campaign had ties to Russia's election meddling.

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Democrats as well cautioned in broad terms that Trump's disclosures could also put US lives in danger.

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