President Trump revealed highly classified intelligence information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in a meeting last week, The Washington Post reported Monday, citing current and former U.S. officials. The Post reported that Trump "went off script" in the meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak, "describing details about an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft":
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States only learned through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence gathering method, but 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]
One official told the Post that Trump "revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies," characterizing the material as "code-word information," which is one of the highest levels of classification used by American intelligence agencies. Another individual, a former U.S. official who is "close to current administration officials," said Trump "seems to be very reckless and doesn't grasp the gravity of the things he's dealing with." The newspaper said it was withholding details of what Trump revealed "at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities."
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who was present at the meeting, said the men "reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation. At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly." The CIA declined to comment to the Post, while the National Security Agency did not respond to comment requests.
The Department of Homeland Security has reportedly been considering a ban on laptops or tablets in carry-on luggage on flights to the U.S. from Europe; such a ban is already in place for direct flights from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries. Trump welcomed the Russians to the Oval Office just one day after firing FBI Director James Comey, which he told NBC News was spurred in part because of the FBI's investigation into his potential ties to Russian operatives. Read more at The Washington Post.