Foreign Policy reports: Just days before President Donald Trump’s arrival in Tel Aviv, Israeli intelligence officials were shouting at their American counterparts in meetings, furious over news that the U.S. commander in chief may have compromised a vital source of information on the Islamic State and possibly Iran, according to a U.S. defense official in military planning.
“To them, it’s horrifying,” the official, who attended the meetings, told Foreign Policy. “Their first question was: ‘What is going on? What is this?’”
White House officials are touting Trump’s visit to Israel next week as a chance to show U.S. solidarity with its closest Middle East ally after eight years of friction between former President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But behind the public display of harmony, Israeli intelligence officers are angry and alarmed over the U.S. president revealing sensitive information in a May 10 meeting in the White House with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.
Trump divulged classified information gathered by Israel about specific terrorist plotting by the Islamic State. The information reportedly revealed Islamic State advances in bomb-making that could be used to mask an explosive device inside a laptop, and also referenced the city where the unfolding plot was being hatched.
The details Trump spilled likely came from a source that was also useful on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Hezbollah proxies in Syria and Lebanon, which are much higher priorities for Israel, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
“To the Israelis, ISIS is not that big of a concern,” the defense official said, using an alternate acronym for the Islamic State. “We have a partner that has done us a favor. They went out of their way to support us in a campaign against ISIS, that they have no real skin in.”
In the first 48 hours after the news broke, the Israelis saw little engagement from the Trump administration on the issue. Instead, the administration remained focused on planning for the president’s visit next week.
“There’s been no collaboration on this issue or any outreach. But it’s like a [public relations] circus,” the official said. [Continue reading…]