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Israelis: Trump Sharing Intelligence With Russia! Worst Fears Confirmed!
Sheera Frenkel, Nancy Youssef, Buzzfeed News, May 16 2017

SAN FRANCISCO/ FASCHINGSTEIN — Two Israeli intel boxtops confirmed to me! BuzzFeed News! on Tuesday that Israel had shared specific intelligence with Pindostan regarding Daesh plots to smuggle explosive laptops onto planes, and that it appeared that that intelligence had been shared with Russia without prior coordination. The revelation that Trump had shared that intelligence with Russian boxtops was Israel’s “worst fears confirmed,” said one of the intel boxtops. The officer, who spoke to me! BuzzFeed News! on condition of anonymity, as he was not granted permissions (by the Gods of Alla and Valhalla – RB) to speak to the press, said:

We have an arrangement with Pindostan which is unique to in the world of intelligence-sharing. We do not have this relationship with any other country (that doesn’t make it unique in the world – RB). There is a special understanding of security cooperation between our countries. To know that this intelligence is shared with others without our prior knowledge is for us, our worst fears confirmed!

The officer previously spoke to me! BuzzFeed News! in January, when he said that Israeli boxtops had specific concerns about what Trump would share with Russian officials, because Israel routinely shared intelligence that included sources of information and names of assets in place, the type of information that could endanger the lives of those providing the raw intelligence. Israel’s role in obtaining the intelligence passed on to Lavrov was first reported alleged by the NYT on Monday. Lavrov and Trump’s discussion last week has been the subject of rapid pushback from an embattled White House, which has said that the president’s disclosure was “wholly appropriate.” On Tuesday, Sean Spicer defended the right of the president to share intelligence as he sees fit, telling reporters:

The president can always discuss common threats or common issues with host nations, excuse me, with other heads of government or other government officials as he deems appropriate to tackle the threats our country faces.

Without confirming that the source of the intelligence shared by Trump came from Israel, Spicer said:

We appreciate the relationship that we have with Israel and appreciate the exchange of information that we have with them.

Israeli officials said it was “highly unusual” and “highly inappropriate” to share information without prior coordination. The intel boxtop who spoke to me! BuzzFeed News! already throughout this article, said:

There has to be trust for this sort of arrangement. I cannot speak for Israel’s entire security apparatus, but I would not trust a partner who shared intelligence without coordinating it with us first.

A Defense Ministry boxtop said that while Pindostan had passed on Israel’s intelligence to other friendly nations in the past, it had always done so in a coordinated manner. He said:

There are situations where this is necessary. But there is always coordination. That is just good practice and manners.

A second intel boxtop, who spoke to me! BuzzFeed News! via an encrypted app and also spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Israel had shared specific intelligence with Pindostan regarding an active threat to Pindo-bound planes. Speaking to me! BuzzFeed News! via a military base in northern Israel, he said Israeli intel boxtops were “boiling mad and demanding answers” as to whether the exalted Tzahal would continue its current intelligence-sharing agreement with Pindostan. Israel still maintains a large network of human assets on the ground in countries across the world. Unlike other western countries, who have given up costly HUMINT operations in recent years in favor of SIGINT, Israel still invests heavily in sending its own spies abroad and in cultivating a network of locals interested in selling or trading intelligence. The Defense Ministry boxtop who spoke to me! BuzzFeed News! said the network of resources that Israel maintains makes their intelligence “incredibly valuable and precarious.” He said real human lives are put in danger if that intelligence leaks out to the wrong parties. The White House has suggested that Trump did not reveal the source of the intelligence during his meeting with Lavrov. On Tuesday, Spicer told reporters:

It would be impossible for the President to reveal the source of the information because as General McMaster made very clear as he was leaving this podium, the President wasn’t briefed on the information and wasn’t aware of the source, so the President wasn’t aware of this, this wasn’t part of his briefing, so therefore to suggest that therefore he revealed it is impossible!

The Israeli boxtops who spoke to me! BuzzFeed News! said there has already been a push to stop the sharing of Israel’s most sensitive intelligence with Trump’s White House. It was Israel’s political echelons, they added, who insisted that the intelligence-sharing continue, and who were hoping to use Trump’s mistakes as a way to gain leverage. The Defense Ministry boxtop said:

We are concerned about our long-term intelligence-gathering operations, but politically, Bibi sees a way to get what he wants out of Trump. He can say to Trump: You screwed us! Now give us this or that!

Privately, Pindo national security officials said they had no way to know for that the leak would effect USraeli military relations or intelligence-sharing between the two countries. For many, that was not the biggest issue of the leak. It was Trump’s push to normalize relations with Russia during the meeting where the leak happened, even going so far as to push for coordination on protecting the homeland! That, two Pindo boxtops explained to me! BuzzFeed News! would change Pindo national security in a way the mere leak by itself would not.

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