US President Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister during their meeting last week, potentially jeopardizing a source of intelligence about Islamic State, The Washington Post reported on Monday, citing current and former US officials.
He spoke during a meeting with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the White House.
According to the Post, Trump discussed details of a suspected plot by the Daesh terrorist group involving laptop computers to target aircraft.
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 around the world, and informed them what had happened. Sources told the paper that the information shared with the Russian diplomats was so sensitive that details were withheld from allies and from some within the US government.
President Donald Trump says the White House is "moving rapidly" to select a replacement for ousted FBI Director James Comey.
Trump did not reveal the specific intelligence gathering method, but he did reveal the city in the Islamic State's territory where the USA intelligence partner detected the threat.
"At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly", McMaster added.
In April, CNN first reported that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies believed that ISIS and other terrorist organizations had developed new ways to place explosives in laptops and other electronic devices to evade airport security screening methods. The Post story does not claim that Trump revealed any specific information about how the intelligence was gathered.
Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., said that if The Washington Post's report was true, it was "inexcusable".
The partner had not given the U.S. the OK to share the material with Russian Federation, and the officials said that Trump risked losing the cooperation of an ally that had deep access to ISIS strategies.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the White House needed to "clear the air" about whether tapes existed.
The story that came out tonight as reported is false.
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner.
"These reports, if true, are of the gravest possible concern", Wyden tweeted. "It could harm our national security by cutting off important sources of intelligence that protect Americans against terrorist acts", Wyden said.
For Trump's already tired allies in Congress, the latest crisis brought more headaches and demanded yet more explanation from an administration that is struggling to leave its legislative mark.
Blumenthal called on a "full explanation" from Trump, "not just a flat denial, which is really a non-denial denial that fails to address the details of this story", and anyone found to be in violation of the norms of intelligence should be held accountable. Before you get too excited about impeachment or anything, the president has the right to declassify info, so what Trump did, aside from being incredibly stupid, was probably legal in a very technical sense. But officials refused to answer specific questions, including what precisely the report had gotten wrong, ensuring it would dominate a week that White House officials hoped would be quiet in advance of the president's first foreign trip.