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'Trump revealed classified information to Russia,' say U.S. media

'Trump revealed classified information to Russia,' say U.S. media

Posted May. 17, 2017 07:24,   

Updated May. 17, 2017 07:34

The Washington Post and other U.S. media reported on Monday that U.S. President Donald Trump revealed classified information on the Islamic State (IS) when he met with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, jeopardizing a critical source of intelligence. It is expected that the controversy will continue for a while as the U.S. president is beset by doubts on possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow after he fired FBI Director James B. Comey.

According to the Washington Post, the revelation came during a May 10 meeting with the Russian minister and other high level officials when the president describes details about issues related to the IS, a day after he dismissed Mr. Comey. The current and former U.S. officials said that 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 U.S. government. A U.S. official who requested anonymity said, “The highly-classified information relating to the IS that was revealed by Mr. Trump is code-word information. He revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”

The New York Times said that the intelligence on an IS terror threat came from a Middle Eastern ally and details of the intelligence that the president shared with the Russian foreign minister was the city in Syria where the ally picked up information about the plot. The Washington Post reported that details of an IS terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.

If reports from the Washington Post and other media are true, it may lead to a tough confrontation between the political parties by inciting suspicions about the link between the Trump campaign and Russia. It is also expected that the controversy will flare up as the president selected Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. alley who repulsed the IS attack, as the first stopover on Friday during his first tour on the Middle East and Europe after taking office. Sen. “If true, this is a slap in the face to the intel community,” Mark Warner, the vice chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus and the Intelligence Committee, said on Twitter on that day.

U.S. National Security Advisor Herbert McMaster, who participated in the meeting with the president and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, made a statement and denied the suspicion. “During that exchange, the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods or military operations,” Mr. McMaster said in the statement. He described the Washington Post story as “false.”

Seung-Heon Lee ddr@donga.com