Trump: I Had Absolute Right to Share Intel With Russia

McMaster: Trump's Sharing 'Wholly Appropriate'

Yesterday, the revelations that President Trump had revealed “top secret” intelligence during Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit were met with blanket denials from the White House. The insistence that it didn’t happen didn’t last long, as President Trump took to Twitter not long thereafter to affirm that he did so.

Trump insisted that because the intelligence had to do with terrorism and airline safety, which is to say the ISIS laptop bomb plot, there were valid “humanitarian reasons” to share that intelligence with Russia to allow them to step up their defenses against an ISIS attack.

Trump went on to point out that as president he has an “absolute right” to share intelligence, which despite the furor the report caused is true. US presidents are allowed to handle classified data as they see fit, and that includes disclosing it to foreign officials.

The whole reason this became an issue is because the nation is question was Russia and many, particularly in the US Congress, are perpetually hostile toward Russia and would oppose any intelligence sharing with them, irrespective of its justification.

That Trump met with the Russian Foreign Minister at all was a sore spot for some, even though literally every US president in the modern era has done so, with Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D – FL) insisting that there was “no such thing as appropriate contact” with the Russian government.

Ultimately, there is no legal question surrounding Trump’s revelation, and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster says he believes the disclosures by Trump were “wholly appropriate,” though the fact that it’s a story with Trump and Russia in the headlines inevitably means it was going to be a scandal.

Trump’s actual disclosure appears comparatively minor, having discussed a laptop plot that’s been public knowledge for months, and citing intelligence from a foreign operative in an unnamed city in Syria. Officials interested in making a big deal of that subsequently revealed the city would’ve tipped the Russians off that the source was Israeli, though in doing so the officials also tipped off the entire planet to that fact.

At most Trump gave Russia an inadvertent heads up that Israel had a spy in ISIS territory in Syria, something they’d likely have assumed at any rate, and it is primarily the inherent distrust of all things Russian that has led to speculation this is going to lead to any sort of fallout from that fact.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • MvGuy

    Russia is our ALLY in the effort weaken & displace ISIS in Syria.. Russia has been bombing the PISS outta ISIS… Russia has just as much to lose as the U.S. by ISIS getting any imformation useful to their jahaddi cause…

    • J C

      you know mvguy..they say he got the intel from israel there is your first red flag…most likel it was disinformation that the zionist did want russia to get in order to trick them into maybe attacking the US…you know our wonderful media monopoly they have in the US they’d never state anything ever accusing the zionist state of spying or inappropriate behavior

      • MvGuy

        COMEY IS DIRTY, HE IS IN THE POCKET OF THE CLINTONS…The themillenniumreport.com lays it out. Claims much of Comeys net worth of (reported $33,000,000.00 was gotten through his services and inside.deals, crony arrangemenrs performed AND for DRUG LAUNDRY BANK HSBC

        In 2013 Comey was appointed to the board of directors of admitted DRUG LANDRY BANK HSBC just after they paid a $1,900,000,000.00 fine for launderING Mexicano Cartel DRUG (Cocaine & Heroin money and their $100 Billion in murky offshore private banking arrangements being sheltered by HSBC.

        Go after Comey, he has more skeltons in his closet than Jack The Ripper…!!!!!!!

  • I think it’s more likely that Israel has more than just “a spy” there. Trainers, logistics, C4IT…every army needs beans, bullets, and band-aids to function.

  • John Ellis

    Mainstream Jason Ditz, thank you for your brainwash.

    • wars r u.s.

      Ditz also said Trump had the right to handle classified data as he saw fit. I didn’t get any attempt at brainwashing from this article. In fact, I think it was making the point that the only reason this is an issue is because of the Russiaphobia amongst our elected officials.

    • GStorm

      He has the power to but that is not the proper procedure to do it.

  • GStorm

    People don’t always get nailed for their biggest crimes. I tend to agree that is isn’t as big a deal as being made. Nor is the request to Comey to end the investigation (hard to imagine past Presidents in a pre-Watergate era not doing things like that. Comey actually halting it would have been different). But in the current age, this does seem to have legs.

  • Bill Rood

    So, let me get this straight. According to H.R. McMaster. “At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed.” According to Tillerson, “During that exchange, the nature of specific threats were
    discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods or military
    operations.”

    So Trump warned Lavrov about some ISIS airline terror plot involving laptops. He is alleged to have divulged that this information came from an Israeli spy within ISIS, but McMaster and Tillerson say sources were not discussed. If israel gave a s**t about its assets among ISIS, it would not be broadcasting its outrage to the world. It would quietly inform Jared Kushner that his father in law had screwed up.

    Frankly, I’m left with the impression that some people in the MSM, Israel or both are furious that Trump has blown an active terror plot against Russia. They’d rather see a Russian airliner explode than have better Relations between the US and Russia.