Washington DC is currently wrapped in the grips of yet another Trump misstep. This time President Donald Trump is said to have divulged classified information during a visit paid to the White House by the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov. The information is said to be from a source with inside knowledge of ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) plans to use laptops as bombs, and the alleged divulging of information is brought to you by the Washington Post. But the piece itself is full of contradiction and the BBC seems to dispel any claims in the piece that Trump gave up any kind of a ghost.
First, the Washington Post opens the piece by stating President Trump disclosed information that “jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State” (Emphasis added.) The Washington Post claims that this source had intimate knowledge of an ISIL plot to use laptops as bombs. “Trump went off script and began describing details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.” But keep in mind, Trump is alleged to have divulged “a critical source” not “details of a … terrorist threat.”
However, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster denied that Trump divulged any such information. “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.” McMaster is refuting the claims made in the opening paragraph of the Washington Post article that explicitly claims Trump discussed information that “jeopardized a critical source of intelligence.” In the world of intelligence, sources and methods refers to how intelligence is collected. This could mean that that the intelligence was collected via HUMINT or SIGINT—or any other “INT” that collects information—and it also refers to how the different INTs collected the information—personal meeting, dead drop, satellite coverage, etc.
Back to the Washington Post piece. Further in the story, the Post denies that Trump was accused of divulging “sources and methods” by sleight of hand. First, they attribute denials to White House officials, and then they claim that the White House officials refuted the wrong claim. “In their statements, White House officials emphasized that Trump had not discussed specific intelligence sources and methods, rather than addressing whether he had disclosed information drawn from sensitive sources.” You see what the Washington Post did there? Let’s recap.
First, the Washington Post leads with Trump “jeopardizing a critical source of intelligence.” Then, when that claim is denied by the White House, the Washington Post says that the denials are in reference to something not alleged.
This line of thinking was picked up on by your typical Never Trump “Conservative” outlets. Jim Geraghty snarkily puts the timeline together while making fun of anyone who might look at this story with a skeptical eye. He begins with downplaying any claims that this story is “fake news” by saying that it is too elaborate, involving cooperation from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Reuters, CNN, and Buzzfeed. Never mind the fact that every one of these publications were anti-Trump before the election and that Buzzfeed propagated a fake story involving a fabricated intelligence dossier late last year. Let’s take a look at some facts that might shed some light on what actually happened.
Going back to what was divulged—the terrorist laptop scheme—this information has been public since at least early March. On March 21, the New York Times ran a story titled “Devices Banned on Flights From 10 Countries Over ISIS Fears.” In this story, the Times leads with this sentence, “Intelligence showing that the Islamic State is developing a bomb hidden in portable electronics spurred the United States and Britain…to bar passengers from airports in a total of 10 Muslim-majority countries from carrying laptop computers…aboard direct inbound flights, two senior American counterterrorism officials said.” Now take a good look at that sentence. What stands out? First, the information is coming from intelligence involving ISIL. Second, the information is attributed to “senior American counterterrorism officials.” So who is divulging intelligence? Again this is March 21.
Now let’s tie this all together. The Washington Post says that Trump told the Russians about a source. The White House denies that the source was discussed, and the Washington Post says Trump was not accused of discussing a source, rather he is accused of discussing information. Well what information is that? The Washington Post says that it is information related to ISIL plots to use laptops in terrorist attacks. Okay, but that information has already been made public by “senior American counterterrorism officials” through the New York Times. If this is not another “fake news” piece against Trump, then I do not know how else you would characterize it.
One thing is certain, those trying to make a bigger story out of this than there is are blinded by hate. They are so full of hatred for the fact that Donald J. Trump is President that there is an automatic inclination to agree with any outrageous accusation made against him by the Leftist media.