Trump claims 'absolute right' to share info with Russia
17 May, 2017, 08:45 | Author: Glen Fletcher
Trump himself claimed the authority to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russian Federation, saying in a pair of tweets he has "an absolute right" as president to do so.
White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster called the report "false" last night, while Trump defended himself on Twitter, saying he shared "facts".
His Twitter message came one day after news broke that he allegedly divulged classified information to Russian Federation s foreign minister and ambassador to Washington during their visit last week to the Oval Office.
The official said Tuesday that doing so "could be a risk for our sources".
Trump says he wanted to share with Russian Federation "facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety". Trump's tweets did not say whether he revealed classified information about IS, as published reports have said and as a USA official told The Associated Press.
In his tweet Trump wrote that he was motivated by "humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russian Federation to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism".
Others at the meeting realised the mistake and scrambled to "contain the damage" by informing the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA), says the Post.
Two U.S. officials said Trump shared the intelligence, supplied by an ally of the United States in the fight against the militant group, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during a meeting last Wednesday.
He met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office last week.
The U.S. officials told Reuters that while the president has the authority to disclose even the most highly classified information at will, in this case he did so without consulting the ally that provided it, which threatens to jeopardize a long-standing intelligence-sharing agreement.
The disclosures late on Monday roiled the administration as it struggled to move past the backlash over Trump's abrupt firing on May 9 of FBI Director James Comey, who was investigating potential ties between Russian Federation and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. "At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known". "Risking sources & methods is inexcusable, particularly with the Russians".
He said he would have more to say when he knows more about the news report. Given the well-publicised ban on laptops in cabins on certain Middle Eastern routes, whoever revealed that information is unlikely to be still in place. Ryan's office said he hoped for a full explanation, while McConnell told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday he wished for a little less drama from the White House.
One senior North Atlantic Treaty Organisation diplomat quoted by Reuters said: "If true, this is not going to instil confidence in allies already wary of sharing the most sensitive information".
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova urged people not to read U.S. newspapers. The Post story does not claim that Trump revealed any specific information about how the intelligence was gathered.
Codeword: Adds a second level of clearance to Top Secret, so that only those cleared with the codeword can see it.
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