US President Donald Trump had allegedly revealed highly classified information about Islamic State terrorists to Russian officials during a meeting last week, according to reports. The Washington Post made the startling revelation, the reports say. The Washington Post claimed that Trump shared details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptops on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. It had cited current and former US officials. The report has evoked strong reactions from across Amrican political spectrum, the agency reports say.
Here are the reactions
Three White House officials, who were in the May 10 meeting strongly rejected the story, saying no intelligence sources and methods were discussed. However, they didn’t deny that classified information was disclosed, say agency reports.
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The White House also released a statement from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Tillerson said the meeting focused on counterterrorism. Allaying fears, deputy national security adviser Dina Powell categorically said the Post story was false. “This story is false. The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced,” Powell said.
Donald rump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster said, “The story that came out tonight as reported is false.” “At no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed. The president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. … I was in the room. It didn’t happen,” he was quoted as saying by agencies.
On the other hand, Congressional Republicans and Democrats expressed concern about the report, an agency report says.
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Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin, called Trump’s alleged conduct “dangerous” and reckless.” The Republican head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, called the allegations “very, very troubling” if true.
One of the officials said the intelligence was classified Top Secret and also held in a secure “compartment” to which only a handful of intelligence officials have access.
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 jeopardize what they called a longstanding intelligence-sharing agreement, the U.S. officials said.
Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters the Trump White House “has got to do something soon to bring itself under control and order.” Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, “We certainly don’t want any president to leak classified information, but the president does have the right to do that.”
Republican Adam Schiff of California called the story “deeply disturbing” and said if it’s true, the disclosure could jeopardize sources of very sensitive intelligence and relationships with key allies, the reports say. Senator Mark Warner, D-Va., tweeted: “If true, this is a slap in the face to the intel community. Risking sources & methods is inexcusable, particularly with the Russians.”