Danny Yatom, who led Israel’s secretive Mossad agency from 1996-98, warned that it would be a “very bad development” and a possible “catastrophe” if Trump compromised an Israeli source during the White House meeting.
Trump unfortunately confirmed it seems that he did pass classified intelligence to the Russians, which put an agents life at risk according to Mossad sources. After strangely walking away during a press conference, Trump was brought back and started telling reporters that he “never mentioned the word of name “Israel” while talking with the Russians,” something that was never made up in the original story.
H.R. McMaster, the National Security Advisor to Trump has been acting as a de facto spokesperson lately, and claimed that what was shared with the Russians was “wholly appropriate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information,” that the President gives to foreign leaders.
While Israel publicly said they would continue to share information with the United States many people have pointed out that the normal policy of Israel would be to limit information.
“There’s no question that the Israeli confidence has been shaken that some of the most sensitive information they share with us will be properly safeguarded,” Dan Shapiro, US ambassador to Israel under Barack Obama and now a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies think tank in Tel Aviv, told AFP.
Israel’s top-selling newspaper Yediot Aharonot reported in January that Israeli intelligence officials had been told in a meeting with US colleagues that “Israeli intelligence information, methods of operation and sources” could leak from a Trump administration seen as having close ties to the Kremlin and that the Mossad had already taken actions to limit intel sharing.
Former CIA director John Brenna agreed that this was a serious issue, and during the SALT conference in Las Vegas, he said that Trump made a “serious mistake” when he reportedly shared sensitive intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in an Oval Office meeting in early May.
But this mistake wasn’t just sharing intelligence; it was violating the protocol for doing so. “I shared intelligence with the Russians when I was the director of the CIA,” Brennan said. “But you share that through intelligence channels, and you make sure you word it in such as way as to not reveal sources and methods. President Trump didn’t do that.”