President says he has ‘absolute right’ to share information with Russians
UNITED States President Donald Trump yesterday insisted he had the right to share sensitive information with Russia, saying he acted to help Moscow in its “fight against ISIS and terrorism”.
“As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety,” he wrote in an early morning tweet.
His Twitter message came one day after news broke that he allegedly shared sensitive intelligence with Russia’s foreign minister and Washington ambassador during their visit last week to the Oval Office.
Trump wrote that he was motivated by “humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism”.
The Washington Post had reported that Trump revealed highly classified information on the Islamic State group during a meeting last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Moscow’s man in Washington Sergey Kislyak.
In a shock twist, the intelligence reportedly came from a US ally who did not authorise Washington to share it with Moscow. That development could shatter trust that is essential to intelligence and counterterrorism cooperation.
The Post, citing unnamed officials, said that Trump went off script during the meeting, describing details about an IS terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on airplanes, revealing the city where the information was gathered.
The Trump administration recently barred the use of laptops in the passenger cabin from several countries in the Middle East.
Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer accused Trump of potentially putting American lives at risk.
“If the report is true, it is very disturbing.
“Revealing classified information at this level is extremely dangerous and puts at risk the lives of Americans and those who gather intelligence for our country.”AFP