Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

President Trump defends 'absolute right' to share intel with Russian officials

President Trump defends 'absolute right' to share intel with Russian officials

Trump himself claimed the authority to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russian Federation, saying in a pair of tweets he has "an absolute right" as president to do so. The Kremlin dismissed the reports as "complete nonsense".

Of course, the USA has had problematic intelligence situations with the rest of the world.

The information Trump relayed, officials said, was provided by a US partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the USA government.

He also said he wanted to provide Russian Federation with "facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety".

Trump added a line in his tweet suggesting why he did it: "Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russian Federation to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism", using a different acronym for the Daesh terrorist group.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the president revealed "highly classified" information related to threats to civil aviation in a closed-door meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee noted the story had been denied."The media reports have been rejected by senior US officials who were in the meeting", he said in an email via his spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, White House communications staff and other top officials were "hiding in offices", according to a senior Trump aide, who spoke to the Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity.

"It was nothing you wouldn't be able to know from open source reporting".

Trump also expressed frustration at the content of a private meeting with foreign officials being leaked to the press, as they have numerous times since taking office.

"I have great confidence in our alliance", Turnbull said.

Lawmakers, meanwhile, said it's disturbing that Trump discussed any intelligence with officials from Russian Federation, a country under investigation by USA authorities over allegations it interfered with last year's presidential election by hacking Democratic political organizations.

Defending Yourself - and Your Computer - From WannaCry Ransomware
Cyber security experts say the brunt of the attacks were felt in Russian, including the country's largest mobile phone company. It said less than 1 percent of computers were affected, and that the virus was now "localized" and being destroyed.

He did not deny that Trump shared classified information with senior Russian diplomats, and he divulged that Trump spontaneously shared details about an Islamic State threat with a country that the USA intelligence community agrees intervened in the 2016 presidential election to Trump's benefit.

White House officials however came to the president's defense, with National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster denying the reports, saying "there's nothing the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people". "He wasn't briefed on the source and method of the information either", McMaster said.

The Post reported that Thomas Bossert, assistant to the President for homeland security and counterterrorism, called those agencies to try to contain the damage of Trump's revelations. He's openly questioned the competency of intelligence officials and challenged their high-confidence assessment that Russian Federation meddled in last year's presidential election to help him win. His criticism has been followed by a steady stream of leaks to the media that have been damaging to Trump and exposed an FBI investigation into his associates' possible ties to Russian Federation.

But some of the European partners Trump will meet later in his trip have been more skeptical about his policies, including a controversial travel and immigration ban that's been blocked by USA courts.

Members of Congress - primarily Democrats - have spent several days demanding Trump to turn over tapes of White House meetings after he suggested, while defending his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, that he records his conversations. The classified information had been shared with the president by an ally, violating the confidentiality of an intelligence-sharing agreement with that country, the official said.

McMaster did focus on the issue of who leaked the information to the Post.

The Royal Court in Jordan said that King Abdullah II was to speak by telephone with Trump later Tuesday.

However, the security adviser declined to confirm whether classified information had been shared at the meeting, and whether the president had revealed the location of the plot in question.

The Department of Homeland Security is reportedly considering expanding the electronics ban to flights from Europe to the United States.

"During President Trump's meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov a broad range of subjects were discussed among which were common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism".

Speaking from the White House briefing room, McMaster said the decision to discuss the threats with the Russians was "wholly appropriate".

"Obviously, they're in a downward spiral right now and they've got to come to grips with all that's happening", he said of the White House. Associated Press writer Paisley Dodds contributed from London.

Like this: