On one front, this is actually laugh-out-loud funny.
Let’s begin with the caveat that there could be multiple motives for making the kind of disclosure Jordanian officials have reportedly made here. But it’s extremely doubtful that any of the motives is helping President Trump’s political situation.
What the report about Jordanian disclosures does, however, is negate entirely the MSM theme that Trump exposed a sensitive Israeli source within ISIS, by talking to the Russians.
In doing so, it seems to suggest that the leakers who told the mainstream media about this supposed gaffe — U.S. officials purporting to give information of great certainty — didn’t know what they were talking about.
Trump, remember, never said Israel was the source of the intelligence behind the laptop ban on commercial flights from potential-threat countries. H.R. McMaster confirmed that Trump didn’t say it, but even the original leak to the Washington Post phrased the supposed error by Trump as a disclosure of too much other information, which would allow the Russians to figure out the source of the intel.
It was the next day that the anonymous leakers first brought up the name “Israel.” If WaPo, the New York Times, and Wall Street Journal wrote it down right, their leak sources were very sure the sensitive intel source was Israel.
Now the Jordanians say it wasn’t.
ABC News had reported Tuesday that the life of an Israeli spy had been placed at risk by the alleged leak.
However, several intelligence sources in Jordan told Al Jazeera Thursday that they doubted that the intelligence President Trump is reported to have shared could have come from Israel.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Israel does not have any spies which have infiltrated ISIS at a high enough level to obtain that intelligence, and that Israel’s intelligence on ISIS comes from a combination of “electronic surveillance collection and its intelligence sharing-arrangement with its Arab partners.”
The officials said that Jordan did have the human intelligence on the ground, including spies within ISIS, to obtain the information.
We can note that the Jordanians were willing to give the media information that our own MSM sanctimoniously assure us will get sources killed, if someone besides their sources (and themselves) tells the public about it. Feel free to marvel amongst yourselves at the Jordanians’ cavalier attitude.
But killed or not, a developed intel source can at the very least be irreparably burned by public disclosures like the Jordanians’. One wonders what the compelling motive was for such a move.
One possibility: if the spy within ISIS is, in fact, Jordanian, but the Israelis passed intel that the Jordanians got from that spy to the United States — whose face may have egg on it with public disclosure? The Jordanian sources make an interesting, apparently pointed reference to Israel’s “intel-sharing arrangements with Arab partners,” which is not something there’s a whole lot of public discussion of. In the espionage world’s fun-house of crazy mirrors and double- and triple-blind gambits, this disclosure to Al Jazeera might be a swipe at Israel; i.e., a sort of minatory text message saying “We saw you passing on that intel that we gathered, dudes.” (It’s also possible that Israel got Jordanian intel through the back door; i.e., through spying on Jordan’s spy agency. Yeah; now go take your ibuprofen.)
Another possibility is that the Jordanians are taking a bullet to keep a source viable — throwing the nature of the penetration of ISIS into doubt, perhaps to protect an Israeli source (or even somebody else’s source) who really is on the inside. There are better, more convincing ways to sow such doubt than telling things to Al Jazeera, but it’s not impossible.
All that said, the intel practitioners whose professional bona fides is put in a bad light by the Al Jazeera report are the U.S officials who leaked the name “Israel” this week.
Remember, the Jordanians can tell Trump didn’t leak it. They’re not invested in the false narrative that he did leak it, and they’re not doing this to blacken his name. The monkey wrench here has been thrown into the leak factory whose nexus lies between Langley and the Eisenhower OEB, which in effect has just been shown up. I doubt that’s accidental.