U.S. President Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister about a planned ISIS operation during their meeting last week, two U.S. officials with knowledge of the situation said on Monday.
The intelligence, both officials said, was supplied by a U.S. ally in the fight against the militant group.
The White House said the allegations were false. “The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced,” deputy national security adviser Dina Powell said.
Reacting to the news, first reported by the Washington Post, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin, called Trump’s 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.
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After Trump disclosed the information, which one of the officials described as spontaneous, officials immediately called the CIA and the National Security Agency, both of which have agreements with a number of allied intelligence services, and informed them what had happened.
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 long-standing intelligence-sharing agreement, the U.S. officials said.
Trump, Lavrov ‘reviewed common threats’
The Washington Post said that Trump shared the information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
“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.”
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement that Trump and Lavrov discussed a broad range of subjects, “among which were common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism.”