President Donald Trump shared classified information concerning the Islamic State with the Russian foreign minister and its ambassador to the U.S. during their meeting in the Oval Office last week, according to The Washington Post.
The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.
The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.
“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.”
And Buzzfeed says the whole situation truly gets even better:
Two US officials who were briefed on Trump’s disclosures last week confirmed to BuzzFeed News the veracity of the Post report, with one official noting that “it’s far worse than what has already been reported.”
Consequently, he may have risked cooperation with a partner who has an inside track with the Islamic State. But, hey, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak now know exactly what we know.
What information did Trump share, exactly? Well, for one, he discussed details of a particular threat that only the U.S. knew of through the partner’s espionage capabilities, the Post report said, and though Trump did not share the gathering method, he did go into details of the specific plot and its potential repercussions.
According to White House officials with knowledge of Trump’s disclosures to Lavrov and Kislyak, he went off script during their meeting (doesn’t “off script” sound familiar?) and started telling them classified information on the Islamic State.
Here’s the thing: Had it been anyone else in government, such an action would have been illegal. But, because the President has the authority to declassify information, so his conversation with Lavrov and Kislyak likely wasn’t illegal.
Basically, this is one of those few cases where “if the President does it, it’s not illegal,” actually applies.
But it’s a good thing that only people who are fit for the Presidency drop this sort of classified information.
But at least he’s not being denied further access to it.
Well we should definitely go after whoever leaks classified information, right?