Former officials call Trump's disclosure "serious"

  • Former officials call Trump's disclosure

Former officials call Trump's disclosure "serious"

Defending himself against the claims, Mr Trump tweeted: "As President I wanted to share with Russian Federation (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety".

On Tuesday, Trump's national security adviser H.R. McMaster downplayed the sensitivity of the information that was shared, saying it was "wholly appropriate" considering the conversation and joint efforts to combat global terrorism.

"We don't say what's classified, what's not classified", McMaster said.

The Post said the intelligence partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russian officials. CNN says Erdogan hopes to persuade President Trump to halt plans to transfer antitank weapons to Syrian Kurds, which Turkey fears will ultimately cross into its borders. He echoed others' concerns it's inexcusable to risk intelligence sources and methods by revealing them to Russian Federation.

The bombshell Comey news came as the beleaguered Trump administration was still struggling mightily to explain Monday's revelation that the president had revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and the country's ambassador to the United States.

Trump's decision to share classified information with the Russians, a traditional adversary of the Five Eyes alliance, has raised questions about how safe allies' secrets are with the mercurial president. Sometimes, by simply revealing the information, a "source can be compromised". It was based on information from current and former USA officials.

Let this be a lesson for Trump: if you're going to talk about closely-guarded secrets that even some agencies within the US government don't know about, pinch yourself before you act on impulse and blurt it out to an adversarial foreign power.

The president's action drew rare criticism from some Republicans, who are desperate to get the White House refocused on health care and tax changes.

The revelations could further damage Trump's already fraught relationship with US intelligence agencies.

Typically, before disclosing intelligence to another country, there would be an evaluation of costs and benefits, close consultation with the US intelligence community, and detailed consideration of how much to say and in what words so as to mitigate risks.

Trump took to Twitter to address reports that he passed ultra-sensitive classified information about the Islamic State group - gleaned by a foreign intelligence partner - to Kremlin emissaries.

As the White House was in damage control today, the New York Times reported Israel, a major United States ally and intelligence sharer, was the source behind the information in question.

The sensational story broke in the Post around at 5 p.m. Monday and set off a media frenzy.

The Washington Post withheld details about the intelligence-sharing arrangement and plot at the request of White House officials, citing concern over national security. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly.

National security adviser HR McMaster denied the president revealed "intelligence sources or methods", but acknowledged Trump and Lavrov "reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation".

"The president wasn't even aware of where this information came from", McMaster said.

But the loose accounting of facts has raised alarms among both Republicans and Democrats.

The information had been shared with Trump by an ally, so his passing it along to Russian Federation violated the confidentiality of an intelligence-sharing agreement with that country, the official said.

Citing a memo written by Mr Comey on a meeting with Mr Trump in the Oval Office, the report claims Mr Trump told the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief Mr Flynn had done nothing wrong.

Though McMaster is still bending over backwards to prove his loyalty to President Trump, even defending sharing classified information with the Russian political appointees that had a private visit to the White House, Trump doesn't seem to be returning the favor, as he has said negative, critical things about McMaster in a public forum.

At least one member of the Senate Intelligence Committee had been briefed on Trump's disclosures, according to BuzzFeed News.

The White House issued a furious denial after the notes were disclosed late Tuesday, near the end of a tumultuous day spent beating back potentially disastrous news reports from dawn to dusk.

First reported by the New York Times and quickly confirmed by NBC News, Israel's alleged involvement further complicates the White House's assertion that Trump acted appropriately in divulging intelligence to Russian Federation, an ally of Israel's foe Iran. AP writer Jan M. Olsen also contributed.