Report: Trump Revealed to Russians Details of Covert Israeli Operation in Syria

OPINION, Leakers, Israel, Intelligence Source, Damage, President Trump
President Donald Trump with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L)  next to Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak at the White House. (Russian Foreign Ministry/AP)

President Donald Trump revealed details of a top-secret Israeli operation in Syria in a May meeting with Russian officials, a report in Vanity Fair magazine alleged Thursday. The operation that Trump is said to have discussed with Russian foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov and former Russian ambassador to the U.S Sergey I. Kislyak discussed an operation by the IDF’s Sayeret Matkal (considered the Israeli equivalent of the Marines) was a mission in Syria, in which Israeli agents discovered that Islamic State operatives were preparing laptop computer bombs which they planned to bring on flights in the U.S. and Europe.

The report said that the Israelis passed the intelligence onto the U.S., which then informed its Western allies of the danger. The warning led to a temporary ban on laptops and small electronic devices on flights in the U.S. and the U.K.

Vanity Fair said that it had discussed the operation with senior Israeli military officials who provided details of the raid. The report portrays Trump as using the Israeli information as a way of “bragging” to the Russians that the U.S. had superior intelligence. He provided details of the operation, including the specific city where it took place. However, the report said, Trump did not reveal that the information came from Israel. However, it said, the Russians were probably able to figure out the details, and that there was concern that the Israeli agent responsible for the operation may have been compromised by the Russians.

The report also quoted Israeli officials as saying that they were concerned over what Vanity Fair said was the “cavalier” attitude of the Trump administration to intelligence provided by Israel. “[Prime Minister Binyamin] ‘Netanyahu’s intelligence chiefs … are up in arms, a prominent Israeli journalist insisted in The New York Times,” the report said. “In recent interviews with Israeli intelligence sources, the frequently used operative verb was ‘whiten’ —as in ‘certain units from now on will whiten their reports before passing them on to agencies in America.’” The report quoted an Israeli official as saying that “Trump betrayed us, And if we can’t trust him, then we’re going to have to do what is necessary on our own if our back is up against the wall with Iran.” The report did not mention a White House response.

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