Trump Shared Classified Information? Remember Obama & Clinton

Trump’s reported blunder with the Russians is no worse than the record of the Obama administration in such matters.

For Democrats, there is nothing like having the media and the intelligence bureaucracy on the team.

We don’t know all the details, but let’s stipulate that if President Trump disclosed to Russian diplomats secret information that was shared with the U.S. by a foreign intelligence service, as the Washington Post alleges, that could have been a reckless thing to do. General H. R. McMaster, the president’s national-security adviser, claims the Post’s story is not true; but there has been pushback from critics who say that McMaster’s denial was lawyerly.

The matter boils down to whether Trump disclosed a city in Islamic State territory from which an allied intelligence service (perhaps through a source who infiltrated ISIS, or through a collection method that enabled intelligence to penetrate ISIS operations) discovered a threat to civil aviation (reportedly involving explosives hidden in laptop computers). In asserting that the report is “false,” McMaster insisted that Trump had not “disclosed” any “intelligence sources or methods” or “military operations that were not already publicly known.” That denial, however, arguably sidesteps what the Post actually reports. The paper claims not that Trump provided the identity of the source or the nature of the intelligence method involved but that the president mentioned a city that is the locus of the information. By saying Trump did not “disclose” the source, is McMaster saying there’s no way that what was revealed could compromise the source?

It is reasonably argued that this tip could enable to Russians to figure out which ISIS cell has been infiltrated, thereby endangering the mole or other penetration method. It is also reasonably argued, though, that the Post’s own reporting of what McMaster describes as a standard diplomatic exchange of sensitive intelligence has given the Islamic State valuable information it would not otherwise have learned….continue reading

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