CNN: The Trump administration asked us not to report the intelligence that Trump shared with the Russians
This clip helps clarify the underlying issue in Blabgate or whatever we’re calling yesterday’s story about Trump chattering to the Russians in the Oval Office. Take the headline above and substitute “British” or “Israelis” for “Russians” and Tapper’s point becomes absurd. Of course the White House will sometimes ask the media not to report sensitive information that it shares with its allies. If the U.S. and Israel are coordinating an operation against Hezbollah and CNN gets wind of the place and time, the network will be asked to keep the information secret even though American and Israeli agents have been discussing it. There’s nothing weird or novel about the government wanting to keep something from Americans that it’s shared or intends to share with foreign intelligence.
What’s weird and novel is the particular foreign element with whom the ISIS secret was shared.
Tapper’s point below isn’t that CNN should have been allowed to reveal the information about ISIS that it had discovered. His point is that if that information needed to be suppressed to keep it out of the enemy’s hands, why was it handed to Russia, of all countries? Isn’t Russia an enemy? Maybe not anymore:
He wanted to show them how much he trusted them, to foster a sense of cooperation and alliance, so he spilled the beans. Maybe he believed that Russia already knew the intel (although that would contradict WaPo’s report, which claimed Trump was boasting about how great his access to intelligence was) or maybe he thought that they wouldn’t exploit the information to damage U.S. or Israeli interests since he had offered it in a spirit of friendship. That’s highly naive, but not inconsistent with the idea that what’s fit for diplomats’ ears isn’t necessarily fit for the CNN audience’s. Essentially we’re having a national argument over whether Russia can be trusted with U.S. secrets, at least about Syria.
Exit question: if the intel Trump spilled was so super-sensitive, how did CNN get it so long ago?