Secretary of Defense James Mattis countered assertions that President Donald Trump’s intelligence sharing with Russian officials jeopardized U.S. allied relations, in a series of comments to reporters.
Mattis’s comments follow reports that Trump disclosed an Islamic State plot to down a commercial airliner during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The disclosure drew widespread criticism because Israeli intelligence agencies shared the plot with the U.S. after learning of it from a spy within an ISIS cell somewhere in Iraq or Syria.
Israel did not give the U.S. permission to share the intelligence with anyone, and it was considered so sensitive it was not distributed to key U.S. allies like the U.K. The disclosure drew widespread condemnation from U.S. lawmakers and speculation that American allies would no longer share sensitive intelligence with the Trump administration.
Former Obama national security council official Ned Price hysterically lamented Tuesday that allies “will think once, they will think twice, or maybe they will stop sharing information with us to begin with if they cannot be confident that we can safeguard their information.”
Mattis strongly pushed back against this assertion saying,” We have always safeguarded information from allies.… [W]e’ve received no questions at all from anyone.” He elaborated Tuesday that in multiple discussions with U.S. allies the issue “never even came up,” adding that he was “not worried” about Trump’s discussions.
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster similarly defended Trump saying:
What the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information between the president and any leaders with whom he’s engaged.
This report, by Saagar Enjeti, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.