Report: Trump Revealed Classified Intel to Russian Visitors to Oval Office
President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said that Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”
For most anyone in government discussing such matters with an adversary would be illegal. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.
But officials expressed concern with Trump’s handling of sensitive information as well as his grasp of the potential consequences. Exposure of an intelligence stream that has provided critical insight into the Islamic State, they said, could hinder the United States’ and its allies’ ability to detect future threats.
“It is all kind of shocking,” said a former senior U.S. official close to current administration officials. “Trump seems to be very reckless, and doesn’t grasp the gravity of the things he’s dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security. And it’s all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia.”
In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” Trump said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange.
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States only learned through the espionage capabilities of a key partner.
More at the link.
On the one hand, this is not surprising in the least. Trump’s personality lends itself to this kind of self-aggrandizing recklessness. On the other hand, this is pretty remarkable since supposedly the best argument for not electing Clinton was her handling of classified info. I would note that even the worst case version of her e-mails never reached, to my recollection, this kind of compromising of intel.