Trump revealed classified data to Russian minister, say US reports

Washington Post says president disclosed intelligence on Isis that may compromise source

The newspaper said information Mr Trump relayed to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and ambassador Sergei Kislyak had been provided by a US partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement. Photograph: Reuters

The newspaper said information Mr Trump relayed to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and ambassador Sergei Kislyak had been provided by a US partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement. Photograph: Reuters

 

US president Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister during their meeting last week, potentially jeopardising a source of intelligence about Islamic State, the Washington Post reported on Monday, citing current and former US officials.

The newspaper said the information Mr Trump relayed to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak had been provided by a US partner through a highly sensitive intelligence-sharing arrangement.

The partner had not given Washington permission to share the material with Moscow, and Mr Trump’s decision to do so risks co-operation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State militant group, said the Post, citing the unnamed officials.

During his Oval Office meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak, Trump went off-script and began describing details about an Islamic State threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft, the officials told the Post.

Disclosures

While discussing classified matters with an adversary would be illegal for most people, the president has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that Mr Trump’s disclosures broke the law, said the Post.

The president’s meeting with Mr Lavrov and Mr Kislyak at the White House came a day after he fired FBI director James Comey, who was leading the agency’s investigation into possible links between Mr Trump’s presidential campaign and Moscow.

Asked about the disclosures, Mr Trump’s national security adviser, HR McMaster, who participated in the meeting, said no intelligence sources or methods were discussed that were not already known publicly, the Post reported. Asked about the Post story, Mr McMaster declined comment.

US officials have said that US agencies are in the process of drawing up plans to expand a ban on passengers carrying laptop computers on to US-bound flights from several countries in conflict zones due to new intelligence about how militant groups are refining techniques for installing bombs in laptops.

So serious are assessments of the increased threat that Washington is considering banning passengers from several European countries, including Britain, from carrying laptops in a cabin on US-bound flights. The United States has consulted about the intelligence with allied governments and airlines.

– (Reuters)