The Washington Post reported Monday that President Trump revealed “highly classified” intelligence to Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during their recent meeting at the White House.
But the Post forgot to mention that the President’s conversation with Lavrov is itself among the most secret and classified matters our government holds – and the leak of key parts of that conversation is likely a crime.
This is now the third time in a short period that the president’s most secret and private discussions with a world leader have been leaked to The Washington Post.
During his first week in office, the full transcripts of President Trump’s phone conversations with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto were quickly leaked to the Post.
Such leaks are a serious and illegal attack on the presidency. They undermine the country, trust in the president and his ability to maintain global leadership.
There is a lot more of the onion to peel with this Washington Post story.
If you are watching CNN and MSNBC you may think the president committed a crime or even a horrific act of treason by sharing with the Russians secret intel and even super-secret sources.
But when we continue to peel this noxious onion we discover the facts just don’t measure up to the allegations.
The Post headlines that the president revealed “highly classified” information, suggesting this was perhaps either illegal, improper, or both.
Forgive me, but the last I checked the president is commander-in-chief.
He can decide what is a classified secret. He decides what can be shared with allies, adversaries, or even the public. That’s his decision – not some bureaucrat’s!
So, what was that intel the president shared that was so secret?
If the Post story is believed, Trump told Lavrov the U.S. had intelligence of an ISIS terror plot.
Although the Russians are not allies, we do share a similar goal to wipe out ISIS. Trump has publicly expressed the hope we can work together on this goal.
Even if Trump shared this about ISIS, the likelihood of the Russians tipping off their enemies in ISIS seems quite small.
But thanks to an illegal leak made to The Washington Post, this information is now public and certainly known to ISIS.
Is anyone concerned about this?
Having been a student of American history, I have little doubt that U.S. presidents have shared “highly classified” intelligence with friends and foes in their private discussions.
But The Washington Post makes another unfair and unsubstantiated allegation: that President Trump himself revealed the actual source of U.S. intelligence.
This is a grave allegation.
Here’s the key line from the Post: “Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.”
Citing unnamed sources, the Post claimed Trump has “jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.”
But Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Monday, “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”
Still, the Post continued its attack: “The identification of the location was seen as particularly problematic, officials said, because Russia could use that detail to help identify the U.S. ally or intelligence capability involved.”
It’s a very big stretch to suggest that just by revealing the city of an ISIS threat to the Russians, they or anyone else could identify the source of this intelligence.
It’s not a stretch to me – or anyone with a thinking cap on – to realize when U.S. officials leak the president’s most secret conversations they are putting our national security at serious risk.