SPILLING SE­CRETS

Pres­i­dent says he has ‘ab­so­lute right’ to share in­for­ma­tion with Russians

New Straits Times - - Excellence In Education -

WASH­ING­TON

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

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