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McMaster defends Trump on Russia meeting

17 Mai 2017

"Discussions held in closed forums recently raised fears of a leakage of Israeli intelligence top-classified information, clandestine modus operandi, and sources, which have been exposed to the American intelligence community over the past 15 years, to Russian Federation - and from there to Iran", the report said.

As President, Mr Trump has the power to disclose classified information as he chooses.

Still, the revelations sent a White House accustomed to chaos reeling anew. In addition to disrupting a vital flow of intelligence and possibly endangering agents on the ground, Trump has let the world know that he and his administration can not be trusted with sensitive information.

In an interview with ABC News, he called the president and his team "careless", saying that the reported disclosures demonstrate a "poor understanding of how to guard sensitive information". Trump's tweets did not say whether he revealed classified information about IS, as published reports have said and as a USA official told The Associated Press.

In a later tweet, Mr Trump took aim at "leakers in the intelligence community", a frequent target of his months-old administration. The Post reported an official with knowledge of the meeting described Trump as saying: "I get great intel".

The official said the information was provided to the Israel.

President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 16, 2017, where he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made statements.

Version One: White House aides initially disputed the premise of the reporting.

Last week, after firing Comey, the White House originally claimed the president was acting in response to a memo provided by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

McMaster didn't explain how sharing classified information with Russian officials advanced US interests.

In a statement, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said the partnership between the U.S and Israel was solid.

Among West Michigan's congressional leaders, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Cascade, called on the administration to "promptly" share with Congress the details of President Trump's meeting with Russian officials. At least some of the details that the United States has about the plot came from the Israelis, the officials said.

Mr McMaster said the Washington Post story was false, Reuters reported.

Trump's national security adviser, Lt. Gen. HR McMaster, told reporters he was not anxious that intelligence sharing among allies would stop, the Times reported. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly. By Tuesday, however, the New York Times and other news organizations identified the partner country as Israel.

The administration of US President Donald Trump insisted the chief executive's decision to share classified information with Russia's foreign minister and US ambassador created no danger for US intelligence officials and will not threaten relations with America's allies because the source of the information wasn't divulged.

Earlier, officials staunchly defended Trump's disclosure of classified information to senior Russian officials.

USA officials told Reuters that while the president has the authority to disclose even the most highly classified information at will, in this case he did so without consulting the ally that provided it, which threatens to jeopardise a long-standing intelligence-sharing agreement.

He says he had discussions today with three allies, including two who are North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members, and says the issue "never even came up".

In four months since becoming president, Trump has insulted the CIA as chronic leakers, rejected unanimous assessments that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 election, skipped daily intelligence briefings, and named widely distrusted former army general Michael Flynn, who was sacked by his predecessor Barack Obama, to be his national security advisor.

McMaster would not confirm if that information was classified. Trump abruptly fired Comey, ousting the nation's top law enforcement official in the midst of an investigation into whether Trump's campaign had ties to Russia's election meddling.

USA alliances survived those and more, but they all occurred under presidents who were far more careful with their language, not to mention their tweets.