Israeli spy’s life ‘at risk’ after Trump’s ‘careless’ intel leak – ABC report
Agent said to have uncovered jihadist plot to blow up US-bound plane with laptop bomb; Israel may show ‘more caution’ in future sharing with US
Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.
An Israeli spy’s life is at risk as the result of US President Donald Trump’s reported passing of classified information to senior Russian officials last week, ABC news reported Tuesday.
The spy tipped handlers off about an Islamic State plan to blow up a passenger plane headed for the US by hiding a bomb in a laptop, the network said, quoting current and former US officials.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that Israel was the country that provided the US with the classified intelligence that Trump shared with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak last Wednesday.
Deliberation by the US over a possible ban on laptops on all flights from Europe to the US — a move which could affect 65 million passengers a year — was apparently sparked by concerns that an explosive device of this kind could get through airport screening undetected.
The US already prohibits 10 mainly Middle Eastern airports from allowing laptops on board US-bound flights.
Officials said the intelligence provided by the spy was so sensitive that it was shared only with the US and was conditioned on the source remaining secret, ABC said.
Matt Olsen, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told ABC that Trump’s disclosures to the Russians posed a real threat to “future sources of information about plots against us.”
Olsen went on, “Russia is not part of the ISIS coalition. They are not our partner.”
Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, who was a National Security Council official in the Obama administration, told ABC that the “careless” handling of sensitive information by Trump and his team would “inevitably cause elements of Israel’s intelligence service to demonstrate more caution.”
More than two years ago, IS claimed it had hidden a bomb in a drinks can to blow up a Russian passenger plane over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, in which 224 people were killed.
At that time, according to CNN, Israel also provided important intelligence, although in that case, the information about the perpetrators was only obtained after the attack.
Donald Trump said Tuesday that he had “the absolute right” to share information and had done so in order to encourage the Russians to “greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”
White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster called the president’s actions “wholly appropriate.”