According to an exclusive report from the Washington Post, President Trump revealed “highly classified information” to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador during a White House meeting last week.
Drawing from current and former U.S. officials from inside the White House, the Post reports that the information was related to a critical source of intelligence regarding the Islamic State terror group inside Iraq and Syria. The information Trump divulged “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,” the Post reported.
The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.
Speaking to the Post, a U.S. official said Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”
After the meeting, the White House contacted the National Security Agency in an effort to contain the damage.
“It is all kind of shocking,” a former senior U.S. official close to the matter told the Post. “Trump seems to be very reckless and doesn’t grasp the gravity of the things he’s dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security. And it’s all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia.”
One day after firing Comey, Trump hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. During the meeting, the Post’s sources said that Trump “went off script” and “began describing details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.”
During the meeting, Trump allegedly boasted to Lavrov about his inside knowledge of the matter. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” Trump said according to the Post.
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.
Officials worry Trump’s loose tongue could help Russia identify the source and give Putin an edge in the competing agendas regarding both the U.S. and Russia’s presence in Syria.
Read the Washington Post’s full report here.
Featured image: Russian Foreign Ministry