Under siege for President Trump’s reported disclosure of classified information to two Russian officials last week, the White House has focused on the legality of any disclosure, saying the president can share what he wants.
But that narrow view overlooks the other implications of the disclosure. According to The Washington Post and others, the information was extremely sensitive, shared with the U.S. by an ally as part of an intelligence-sharing agreement so delicate that the details were not shared with allies, and were restricted within the U.S. government. So who was the source of the intelligence?
Some speculated the source was Jordan, especially after Trump called King Abdullah Tuesday morning. But The New York Times reports that the source for the intelligence was actually Israel:
Israel is one of the United States’ most important allies and a major intelligence collector in the Middle East. The revelation that Mr. Trump boasted about some of Israel’s most sensitive information to the Russians could damage the relationship between the two countries. It also raises the possibility that the information could be passed to Iran, Russia’s close ally and Israel’s main threat in the Middle East.
NBC News is reporting the same. If true, that revelation comes at a delicate time for the two countries. Trump has positioned himself as a staunch friend of Israel and is scheduled to visit the country next week, but several tensions have emerged between the U.S. and Israel.