Back in March I noted in a short item about how Herbert Meyer, Bill Casey’s right hand man at the CIA back during the Reagan years, warned that the intelligence community had ways of making a president’s life miserable, and that Trump had taken a huge risk in alienating the intelligence community, even if they deserve Trump’s opprobrium. We may be seeing an example of the intelligence community taking it out on Trump this afternoon.
The Washington Post as twitter blowing up with a report that Trump shared highly sensitive intelligence information with the Russians who visited him in the Oval Office last week the day after Trump fired James Comey:
President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.
The Post seems to have a very detailed account of things:
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.
The Washington Post is withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster downplayed the matter in a carefully worded comment to the Post:
“The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation,” said H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, who participated in the meeting. “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”
Some observations: First, this story was obviously a deliberate leak to the Post, and not something Post reporters turned up on their daily rounds. Second, it has to have come from someone in the intelligence community, or perhaps from an Obama holdover on the national security council. Third, to the extent we know that leaks and other damaging stories about Trump supremely anger him, one might wonder whether this is a provocation to destabilize the White House staff. There are already rumors of a potential staff shakeup in the works.
Stay tuned. I think I know what is going to dominate the news cycle for the rest of the week. Almost enough to make everyone forget about firing Comey, no? Maybe Trump was the leaker. . .