Trump revealed 'the most valuable source' to Russians, say US officials
US media reports source was essential ‘on external plotting by ISIS,’ but confusion rife as to whether source Trump leaked was a person, a technological system, or even connected to Israel; confusion compounded by Jordanian claims that info originated from ‘Jordanian spies, not Israelis.’
Multiple US sources have described the alleged spy whose identity President Trump revealed to Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak as “the most valuable source of information on external plotting by Islamic State,” according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The American officials said that the source was particularly valuable on matters of tracking ISIS attempts to place explosives on passenger flights.
While the full extent of the damage caused by the unsanctioned intelligence sharing remains unknown, the Russians now being privy to the alleged Israeli source’s identity has raised fears that he now faces serious danger, and that his life may be in jeopardy.
But the wave of insecurity that has flowed from Trump’s blunder has rippled all the way to international intelligence community which will likely be more cautious in selecting information it considers reliable.
Even if Trump did not divulge the source directly, one official claimed, Moscow would be able to ascertain his identity using the information he did provide.
Nevertheless, light has still not been fully shed on the precise details of the matter, with confusion conspicuously pervasive in various media outlets.
ABC News, for example, reported that the source is an Israeli spy who now faces mortal danger while The Wall Street Journal reported that the officials refused to comment on whether the source was even a person or an intelligence-gathering technological system.
One of the officials said that it would take some time before the details became clearer regarding whether the source was indeed a person or whether it would, regardless, be of any further use.
Furthermore, the officials said that the source in question was not, in any event, the individual for transferring information about potential threats to planes, but was nonetheless of inestimable worth.
Whether the US was tipped off by the source that flights were in danger, its government temporarily barred passengers on certain flights originating in eight other countries from bringing laptops, iPads, cameras and most other electronics in carry-on luggage in March. Widening the ban is now being considered.
Holes were punched in the reports of Israeli involvement however when Al Jazeera published an interview with veteran Jordanian intelligence officials on Thursday who said that “Intelligence on an ISIL airliner bomb plot given by US President Donald Trump to Russian officials originated in part with Jordanian spies, not Israelis.”
“When it comes to ISIL, unlike Jordan, Israel relies on its electronic surveillance collection and its intelligence sharing-arrangement with its Arab partners," one of the officials told Al Jazeera. The CIA refused to comment on the report.
The controversy erupted when reports surfaced that Trump disclosed highly classified information to Minister Lavrov about a planned Islamic State operation last week plunging the White House into another controversy just months into the president’s short tenure in office. Reports later began to circulate that the information was provided by Israel.