Trump Gives Classified National Security Information to Russia During Oval Office Meeting

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DDLike a moth to light, Trump is drawn toward the danger zone. He is the hero-as-victim, and will deny and diminish every incident, demean and blame others for his actions, esp. the press for reporting the story.

Trump’s stumble gave the Russians enough content to potentially identify sources and methods for the intelligence gathering, and to potentially identify the country as well. His breach of trust may have permanently damaged an important relationship that provided key sources. intelligence about terrorists plans and movements.

Moreover, it gave Russia information, intelligence content, they could not have known about or received, if not for Trump’s disclosure.

Trump may not have known about the highly classified nature of the material. He refuses to prepare for high level meetings by using the briefing books assembled for each meeting and he does not, as have other Presidents, meet with experts from the State Department or the intelligence and security communities to review boundaries and limits for disclosing information before meetings.

His error was discovered and flagged when a summary of his Russia meeting was circulated during a National Security Council meeting. The summary report was immediately restricted. Even the circulation of the intelligence contents in this form was a breach of protocol regarding its handling.

Trump made two very big errors. One, sharing the restricted, classified material with high Russian officials without receiving clearance and without official review by State or intelligence agencies. Two, violating an important, established principle that material would be shared only on a highly restricted, limited basis to protect the intelligence gathering capacity of the gathering country. He has done major damage to American security.

The unnamed sources in the story reported in the New York Times are supported by documents, albeit highly classified, that provide proof–the summary circulated and flagged at the National Security Council meeting. More indirect proof is seen in the way the denials by the White House and administration officials are parsed: no, on Trump sharing intelligence methods and processes; on content (given content, any intelligent agency worth its salt can reverse engineer the gathering method), deliberate silence.

These are smart men. Their silence about content speaks loudly. Why are they/the administration, skirting the main issue and refusing to answer or address the issue directly? Did Trump leak classified materials to the Russians during an Oval Office meeting?

Trump in his statement today says he has the absolute “right” to share “facts” about the campaign against ISIS. Having the right doesn’t make it the right thing to do, however. Having the right doesn’t make the President error-free. His is a massive error in judgment about critical material shared by an ally he then gave to a rival and adversary he treats as close ally while receiving nothing in return.

Yes, again, the White House leaked! This piece of intelligence was closely held; the story had to be leaked by someone who knew firsthand, either from documents or by being present in the meeting. The leaking official provides convincing details, esp. context which is credible (the NSA meeting, the closely held intel).

Several readers are demanding the criminal requirement of proof: guilt beyond reasonable doubt. In matters of sensitive national security, in reporting that needs to protect the stake of other nations in sharing intelligence while shedding light on Trump being groped by Russia, the better standard is the civil standard: a preponderance of evidence. The story is credible! But the same people who knew OJ was guilty are willing to blame the press and give Trump a pass.