Another day means another attempt to catch up with the circus at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It is Tuesday morning as I write this posting. Late Monday afternoon the Washington Post broke the news that President Trump revealed classified information to the Russians during their recent Oval Office meeting. Let’s explore.
On May 10th Trump met with Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. American press was barred from the meeting but the official Russian news agency TASS had a photographer in the room. (Trump and team got played on this and other things.) The White House’s official account of the meeting failed to mention the presence of Kislyak who is at the center of many of the subplots in the Russiagate scandal and is widely believed to be a Russian spymaster.
During the course of the meeting Trump revealed highly classified intelligence information to the Russians. Technically Trump is innocent of any misdeed because the President can declassify any intelligence information at any time they choose to. Trump is claiming that by passing it along he simultaneously declassified the information.
Here one of the basic problems with that action. The intelligence in question came to us from a source friendly to us but not to Russia. It was for our benefit and not for us to disseminate indiscriminately. The Washington Post, in the interest of national security, did not publish all the details they have. It appears the information may well deal with the Middle East. That is a region where our interests and allies often differ from those of Russia. Trump does not appear to be able to grasp that the Middle East is a multi-level challenge. As great and powerful as the United States is, no nation can infiltrate every foreign organization and therefore multinational intelligence gathering benefits us. By effectively betraying a trust that our intelligence community built up over years if not decades Trump has jeopardized a source and in the process America’s security.
In the Donald Dome national security secrets are only secrets as long as Trump thinks they are. It’s very much like the reasoning behind Nixon’s thought that if the President does it, it cannot be illegal. I remember candidate Trump (who Kellyanne Conway seems to disavow ever existed) railing against Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information. I don’t recall any instances where she revealed classified information to the Russians to show off just how powerful she was. Trump looked like a spoiled rich kid who wanted to brag that his toys were bigger and shinier. This is part of a pattern of behavior that betrays psychological problems on the part of the man-child in the Oval Office.
Let’s recap. Letting someone like Andrea Mitchell into the Oval Office for a few questions and a handshake shot prior to the meeting would have been a risk to national security but a TASS photographer is perfectly fine. Donald Trump views Russia as an ally – perhaps with good reason, it appears they helped elect him – however the American intelligence community certainly doesn’t.
Now here is the really scary part: The almost daily scandals coming out of the White House are what we know; do you really think we know everything? What has become abundantly apparent is that Donald Trump lacks the maturity and judgment to make decisions at the presidential level!
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