White House Mum on Whether Israel Source of Classified Info Discussed With Russians

WASHINGTON (Reuters/Hamodia) -
Spicer, White House, Mcmaster, Trump
White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaking at the White House briefing room Thursday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The White House declined to comment on Tuesday on media reports that Israel was the source of sensitive information that President Donald Trump shared with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a White House meeting last week.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said he would not comment on the reports. He also declined to say whether the White House would share transcripts of President Trump’s meeting with Lavrov with lawmakers who have asked for them.

A New York Times report named Israel as the source of the classified material, quoting “a current and a former American official familiar with how the United States obtained the information.”

Israeli officials would make no specific comment on the story, except for an expression of confidence from Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, who said:

“Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump.”

However, that was not the sentiment voice by two Israeli intelligence officials quoted by the news site Buzzfeed on Tuesday, who said the report was our “worst fears confirmed.”

They said that Israel had shared intelligence with the U.S. regarding ISIS plots to smuggle explosive laptops onto planes, the type of information that President Trump may have shared with the Russians. However, they did not claim specific knowledge of what Mr. Trump divulged.

“There is a special understanding of security cooperation between our countries,” they said. “To know that this intelligence is shared with others, without our prior knowledge? That is, for us, our worst fears confirmed.”

One of the sources said that the Israeli intelligence community was “boiling mad and demanding answers” about the disclosures.

The informants spoke on condition of anonymity.