Israel seeks to contain fallout from Trump intel sharing

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 17, 2017

Last week's incident will likely lead to some adjustments in the quality of intelligence shared in the future by Israel and other countries, said Michael Herzog, a retired brigadier general and former intelligence officer with the Israel Defence Forces.

A breach of trust raises the possibility that US friends might curtail such intelligence partnerships out of concern their secrets - and their sources and methods - could end up in the wrong hands.

Trump's move is not illegal, as the USA president has the authority to declassify information.

The White House acknowledged Trump made the decision essentially on the spot.

Former FBI Director James Comey called Clinton and her State Department advisers "extremely careless" in their handling of classified information, but he did not recommend pursuing criminal charges.

John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said late Tuesday that the developments had reached "Watergate size and scale".

One official said it appeared the transition aides were moving the information from the transition offices to the White House, a distance of just a few blocks.

But White House officials, one person said, are becoming increasingly leery of putting their names on statements in the immediate aftermath of stories - because Trump often contradicts them publicly or on Twitter.

The existence of the memo was first reported on Tuesday by The New York Times.

"If the White House is looking for this worldwide trip to turn the page, then it really needs to come off well without any balls dropped or serious mistakes", said the strategist, who requested anonymity. There was no mention of the other high-ranking Russian official that was in the room, ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. And lawmakers have alleged that the sudden ouster was an attempt to stifle the bureau's investigation into Trump associates' ties to Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Mark Warner of Virginia, top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said he would ask Comey for additional material as part of that panel's investigation. But the White House had no memos or tapes of the meeting to rebut the claims, several officials said.

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, has also tangled with the media over the believability of her statements, saying earlier this year in a television appearance that Flynn had Trump's full confidence, hours before Trump fired him. But Mr Comey said he did not say anything to Mr Trump about limiting the investigation, replying simply, "I agree he is a good guy".

"That's a profound national security problem". When that ended, Mr Trump asked everyone to leave except Mr Comey, and he eventually turned the conversation to Mr Flynn. It's unclear if Trump shared the highly classified information with them before or after this photo was taken.

To prepare for his trip, Trump has been meeting with briefers including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster, deputy national security adviser Dina Powell and senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Intelligence agencies use the phrase "sources and methods" to describe secrets about how intelligence is gathered. The close quarters and long flights could fuel tensions with the President, even as it tests a camaraderie among the staff that aides say has been developing with the whiplash of recent events.

Israel's top-selling newspaper Yediot Aharonot reported in January that Israeli intelligence officials had been told in a meeting with United States colleagues that "Israeli intelligence information, methods of operation and sources" could leak from a Trump administration seen as having close ties to the Kremlin.

"While the president has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation", a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity.

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE