UPDATE: After Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer failed to confirm that the information President Donald Trump shared with Russia had been provided by Israeli intelligence, two unnamed Israeli officials talked to BuzzFeed, claiming that they were, indeed, the source of the specific intelligence reports that were later “leaked.”
“We have an arrangement with America which is unique to the world of intelligence sharing,” one of the officials said. “We do not have this relationship with any other country.”
“There is a special understanding of security cooperation between our countries,” the official added. "To know that this intelligence is shared with others, without our prior knowledge? That is, for us, our worst fears confirmed."
A second unnamed source who also spoke to BuzzFeed said that Israeli intelligence officers were “boiling mad and demanding answers” after the episode, adding that they weren't sure why Israel would continue sharing information with America after Trump's disclosure.
"I would not trust a partner who shared intelligence without coordinating it with us first," one official allegedly added.
President Donald Trump is being once again harshly criticized for having a big mouth. And as it turns out, it seems as if some U.S. allies are even considering not disclosing any classified information to their American counterparts as a result.
Originally, The Washington Post reported that Trump had revealed “highly classified” information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during their visit to the White House. The information came from current and former U.S. officials, the publication added, who said that the fact Trump had been allegedly careless with said information could end up jeopardizing a critical source of intelligence on ISIS, or the Islamic State.
Now, Haaretz reported, Israeli intelligence officials are afraid classified information they would usually share with America may be shared with their enemy, Iran, if Trump ends up being careless about it during another meeting with Russian officials. After all, Israel may have been the source of intelligence Trump shared with the Russians, the The New York Times reports.
According to the Times, Israel hasn't confirmed that its officials were, indeed, the source of the information Trump may have given to Russia.
In a statement addressed to the publication, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer said Israel “has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump.”
But during a meeting after Trump's inauguration, U.S. intelligence officials may have allegedly warned their Israeli counterparts that they believed Russia had “leverages of pressure” over Trump. During the exchange, U.S. officials appear to have implied that Israel should “be careful” when sending intelligence information to the Trump White House and the National Security Council (NSC), Haaretz reported.
If the allegations brought up by the Times are correct, and Israel did give classified information to Trump regarding ISIS, Israeli officials may end up finally acting on the early warnings as fears allegedly brought up by U.S. officials appear to have been confirmed.
But Israel isn't the only one afraid of having a crisis on their hands. According to the Associated Press, European countries may also stop sharing sensitive information with America.
BREAKING: European official to AP: Country might stop sharing intel with US if Trump gave classified info to Russian diplomats.— The Associated Press (@AP) May 16, 2017
For Israeli officials, Haaretz reports, the issue now at hand stems from concerns related to Russia's close involvement with Iran.
If Trump were to disclose information on Israel's covert methods of operation and intelligence sources to the Russian government, officials in Tehran, Iran, would be the first ones to learn about them.
In the past, Israel shared these details with America, but now that info they gave Trump ended up with Russian officials, Israel may choose not to.
Perhaps, what makes this piece of news even more earth-shattering is the fact that cooperation between Israeli and U.S. intelligence communities has intensified over the past two decades, even after a report revealed that Israel had been reportedly spying on the United States and that it would not stop. It's incredible how having a big mouth can destroy the very fabric of what U.S. officials have taken for granted for so long.
Now, what is left for us is to see how this will play out on the world stage.
Will Congress act on fears that Trump's behavior may put America's position in the world at a disadvantage by attempting to strip him from having access to important information? Perhaps. But only if there's pressure coming from the public.
But after enjoying some love from the media for the unexpected shift on his original Syria policy, one might wonder if Trump will try to bomb another country just to get the media off this story. With that, he might end up keeping Congress from pressing further.
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