Last Tuesday, two Israeli intelligence officials confirmed that Israel had shared specific intelligence with the US regarding ISIS plots to smuggle explosive laptops onto planes and that it appeared it had been shared with Russia without prior coordination.
“We have an arrangement with America which is unique to the world of intelligence sharing. We do not have this relationship with any other country. There is a special understanding of security cooperation between our countries. To know that this intelligence is shared with others, without our prior knowledge? That is, for us, our worst fears confirmed,” said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“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,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said as he defended the right of the president to share intelligence, on Tuesday. “We appreciate the relationship that we have with Israel and appreciate the exchange of information that we have with them.” he added.
“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,” said the intelligence officer. Sharing information without prior coordination is “highly unusual and highly inappropriate said Israeli officials.
While US has passed on Israel’s intelligence in the past to other friendly nations, it has always done in coordinated manner said by the Israel’s Ministry of Defense. “There are situations where this is necessary. But there is always coordination… that is just good practice and manners,” Israel’s Ministry of Defense said. “We are concerned about our long-term intelligence gathering operation. But politically [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] 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.” he added.
On the other hand, Trump did not reveal the source of the intelligence during his meeting last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, White House said. “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,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Tuesday.