The Slatest

Report: Trump Gave Israeli Intelligence to Russians, Putting It at Risk of Exposure to Iran

Donald Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Feb. 15.

Carlos Barria/Reuters

Some of the classified information about ISIS that Donald Trump spontaneously told Russia’s foreign minister and U.S. ambassador about last week was given to the United States by Israel, the New York Times reports:

In the meeting with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister, Mr. Trump disclosed intelligence about an Islamic State terrorist plot. At least some of the details that the United States has about the plot came from the Israelis, the officials said.

The officials, who were not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Israel previously had urged the United States to be careful about the handling of the intelligence that Mr. Trump discussed.

As the Times notes, the disclosure of sensitive Israeli information to Russia puts it at risk of being given to Iran. Russia is a longtime Iranian ally and provides Iran with weapons; Iran in turn has long supported violence against Israel. Israel is also hostile toward Syria’s Assad regime, which Russia supports, and in fact has reportedly conducted several recent airstrikes against the Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah group in Syrian territory.

Trump is scheduled to visit Israel on May 22; his administration is apparently already involved in another diplomatic spat with the nation over what reports describe as a U.S. official’s indiscreet suggestion that Israel does not have territorial rights to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

The White House has not yet commented on the latest news, but National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster asserted Trump’s behavior during last week’s Russia meeting was “wholly appropriate” at a press conference earlier Tuesday. (Update, 3:10 p.m.: BuzzFeed’s well-sourced Sheera Frenkel reports that two Israeli intelligence officials told her that Israel shared “specific intelligence” about the ISIS plot with the U.S. and that Trump’s apparent disclosure of the information to Russia constitutes Israel’s “worst fears confirmed.”)

In any case, the phenomenon of hyperpatriotic Republican presidents secretly helping out Iran’s hard-line ayatollahs appears to be a trend.