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Trump passed on Israeli intel to Russia, from spy who warned of laptop bombs: Report

American media outlet ABC says sharing of information obtained from spy among Islamic State ranks jeopardises his life

world Updated: May 17, 2017 14:38 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Donald Trump,US-Russia,Russia
Handout photo taken on May 10, 2017 shows US President Donald Trump (C) speaking with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and Russian ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak during a meeting at the White House in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

The classified intelligence President Donald Trump passed on to the Russian officials he met in the White House was provided to the US by Israel and had formed the basis for the US decision to ban laptops on certain flights, ABC news reported.

The intelligence came from a spy inside the Islamic State and was about an active plot to explode a bomb on a flight into the United States, smuggled in a laptop, that could escape detection by the standard metal detectors used at most airports in the world.

The report said the spy’s life was at risk because of the disclosure.

There was no official confirmation or denial of the ABC report for hours after it was first posted online on Tuesday. The news outlet had sourced the report to current and former US officials.

President Trump did allude to the airline security in his tweet on Tuesday, in which he defended sharing the intelligence last week with Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak.

“As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled WH meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining,” he wrote, “to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”

Defending the president’s remarks to the Russians and the tweet as “wholly appropriate”, National Security Adviser HR McMaster told reporters on Tuesday Trump “wasn’t aware of where this came from. He wasn’t briefed on the source of this information”.

First Published: May 17, 2017 09:40 IST