Trump stands by “right” to share information with Russia17/05/17Government
US President Donald Trump has declared he had an “absolute right” to share information of a terrorist plot with Russia amid reports he disclosed classified information provided by Israeli intelligence.
Israel quickly declared it had ‘full confidence’ in its intelligence-sharing agreement with the US, but there was no evidence that it had been consulted on a decision to share the information – a decision Trump appears to have made in a meeting last week with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.
The intelligence Trump shared involved a so-called ‘Islamic State’ group plot to use bombs hidden in laptop computers to bring down planes, according to the Washington Post. White House officials confirmed that it concerned a threat to aviation and argued it was appropriate to share such information with Russia.
The Israeli embassy did not confirm or deny the reports that it was the source of the intelligence, but the ambassador, Ron Dermer, issued a statement, saying: ‘Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the US and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump.’
One of the powers of a US president is to declassify information at any moment he chooses.
Trump tweeted: ‘As president, I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled WH meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety.
‘Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against Isis and terrorism.’
Politicians and intelligence officials said they were concerned the information potentially put a source at risk and was given to the US by an ally who did not give consent for it to be shared with Russia.