The Washington Post claims that President Trump leaked classified info in a meeting with Russians.
NSA McMaster then denied the story. “The story that came out tonight, as reported, is false.”
I’m not sure what to make of this. (So, feel free to tell me in the comments.)
From what I can gather, Trump was discussing a particular threat posed by ISIS. He is accused – by anonymous, off-the-record sources – of letting slip a certain city name that, in Allahpundit’s words, would “let the Russians figure out how a U.S. ally was getting its information on ISIS. He didn’t reveal who the source was or how that info was obtained and WaPo isn’t claiming that he did.”
Legally (and again following Allahpundit), leaking even such a small detail would be a big deal for anyone else in the government, “but because the president has the power to declassify classified information, he can blab all he wants…” If that’s true, then there’s no legal issue. But that does not answer the substantive questions:
- Did Trump let something slip, that he shouldn’t have?
- Or is The Washington Post merely extending its campaign of “Russia!” innuendo in trying to destroy a constitutionally-elected President?
- Or perhaps both? (Picture every President being prone to an occasional indiscretion; and then The Washington Post choosing to bury the story if it’s Obama, but make a huge story if it’s Trump. I mean, for political reasons. What were Obama’s slips, that they never told us about?)
IF this story reflects something that really happened: Is McMaster now saving Trump’s rear end? Would McMaster, reportedly a proponent of the U.S. invading Syria, then gain an upper hand in the Trump administration?
UPDATE: Yes, for the Left to fuss is hypocritical. In the past, CIA Director Leon Panetta and Vice President Joe Biden have blurted out classified information, resulting in deaths.
… it was [Panetta’s] loose talk after the Osama bin Laden raid that exposed a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, who helped locate the Al Qaeda leader. As a result, Afridi was imprisoned on fabricated charges and will live under fear of assassination for the rest of his life…
Panetta did not reveal that critical intelligence in a private meeting with a foreign emissary, but to the entire world, on CBS News’ 60 Minutes.
Even worse was the Obama White House’s decision to reveal that it was U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 that carried out the bin Laden raid.
As Jeffrey Kushner recalled in the Washington Times: “On May 3, at an event in Washington, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. did the unthinkable: He publicly revealed the identity of the special-operations unit responsible for bin Laden’s killing…”
The response came on August 6, 2011, when the Taliban shot down a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan, killing 30 soldiers. Among the dead: 15 members of SEAL Team 6. Years later, the fallen heroes’ families remain outraged at the Obama administration: “In releasing their identity, they put a target on their backs,” one of the fathers told U.S. News and World Report in 2013.