Monday, May 15, 2017

The Aggrieved "Partner" - Who Is It?

A Middle Eastern ally that closely guards its own secrets provided the information, which was considered so sensitive that American officials did not share it widely within the United States government or pass it on to other allies.


[S]haring the information without the express permission of the ally who provided it was a major breach of espionage etiquette, and could jeopardize a crucial intelligence-sharing relationship.

In fact, the ally has repeatedly warned American officials that it would cut off access to such sensitive information if it were shared too widely, the former official said. In this case, the fear is that Russia will be able to determine exactly how the information was collected and could disrupt the ally’s espionage efforts.

In this case, how can you deny that Trump has jeopardized American national security if our allied intelligence services stop sharing intel?

I wonder if this ally is Israel.
Consider Israeli media reports from shortly before the inauguration that “Israeli intelligence officials [were] concerned that the exposure of classified information to their American counterparts under a Trump administration could lead to their being leaked to Russia and onward to Iran.” At the time, Haaretz wrote, on the basis of reporting in the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot:
The intelligence concerns, which have been discussed in closed forums recently, are based on suspicions of unreported ties between President-elect Donald Trump, or his associates, and the government of Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

As Russian intelligence is associated with intelligence officials in Tehran, highly classified information, such as Israel's clandestine methods of operation and intelligence sources, could potentially reach Iran. Such information has been shared with the United States in the past.
To the extent foreign partners were already concerned, this episode seems to confirm their worst fears.

  Lawfare Blog
Beyond angering a partner and calling into question the ability of the United States to keep secrets, the episode threatened to overshadow Mr. Trump’s first trip abroad as president. He departs Friday for Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Belgium.

Israel - if he doesn't take that stop out of his itenerary - may be where he gets his ass handed to him on a platter.
Among the details the president shared was the city in Syria where the ally picked up information about the plot, though Mr. Trump is not believed to have disclosed that the intelligence came from a Middle Eastern ally or precisely how it was gathered.

General McMaster did not address that in naming the city, in Islamic State-controlled territory, Mr. Trump gave Russia an important clue about the source of the information.
I'm a little lost on that count, unless there's only one US ally with an intelligence service in whatever city Trump revealed. But, probably Israel, eh? Turkey? Never mind, the Russians will know.
The Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, sought more information, saying, “The president owes the intelligence community, the American people and Congress a full explanation.”

Doug Andres, a spokesman for Speaker Paul D. Ryan, said Mr. Ryan “hopes for a full explanation of the facts from the administration.”
Just wait for the tweets.* Or the Fox & Friends interview.
Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, signaled to people outside the White House that he was not closely involved. But internally, Mr. Kushner lashed out at Mr. Spicer, who has been the target of most of his ire since the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, was fired last week.
Is it Spicer's job to mind the president's mouth? Why is this his fault? I think Spicer - the perfect fool - is the punching bag these days. I won't be surprised if he gets canned shortly.
“The White House has got to do something soon to bring itself under control and in order,” [Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee] told reporters, adding, “It’s got to happen.”
Good luck. The problem is at the top.

Lock him up! Lock him up!

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

*UPDATE 5/16: Wasn't a long wait.


FURTHER UPDATE 5/16:  The New York Times is reporting that it was indeed Israel.

FURTHER FURTHER UPDATE 5/16: The Lawfare blog quote above is misleading. After reading further, and then reading the actual Haaretz article, it looks more like it wasn't the Israelis who had concerns, at least not until some American intel folks told them they should be.

What to think?

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