The U.S. intelligence community doesn't trust Trump to keep the details about its recent cyber incursions into Russia secret.
U.S. intelligence officials are not briefing Trump on the details of their new covert activities in Russia because they fear Trump can't be trusted not to leak the information to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, according a Saturday report from the New York Times.
The Times describes U.S. cyber operations to infiltrate Russia's power grid as "a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively." The operation is significantly more aggressive than anything that has been tried in the past.
But Trump has been intentionally left out of the loop about the details of the operation — because he has betrayed classified intelligence to Russia in the past and there are real fears he would do it again, Pentagon and intelligence officials told the Times.
In early 2017, Trump discussed highly classified intelligence, which had been gathered in partnership with an allied country, with Russian officials while in the Oval Office. The U.S. did not have permission to share that intelligence with Russia, and Trump's irresponsible disclosure may have jeopardized intelligence assets in the fight against ISIS.
"Trump seems to be very reckless and doesn't grasp the gravity of the things he’s dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security," one former U.S. official told the Washington Post at the time. "And it's all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia."
After Trump's actions were revealed, several European allies expressed worry about sharing critical intelligence with the United States, knowing Trump might share that information with anyone at any time. If Trump "passes this information to other governments at will, then Trump becomes a security risk for the entire western world," Burkhard Lischka, a member of the German parliament, said in 2017.
And now we know that U.S. intelligence agencies are also worried that the man tasked with defending the country could endanger crucial operations because of his overly friendly posture toward Russia.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.