Watch CBSN Live

Intelligence Trump shared with Russians came from Israel

Trump intel reaction
Trump intel reaction 06:39

The classified information passed on to Russian government officials last week by President Trump originated with the Israeli government, a source briefed on the matter told CBS News' Pat Milton on Tuesday.

The New York Times first reported that the intelligence came from Israel. Both the Times and the Washington Post have reported that "highly classified" intelligence provided by a U.S. ally was shared with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lvrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak by Mr. Trump at a White House meeting last week.

On Monday, a former intelligence official told CBS News "something inappropriate" was discussed by Mr. Trump during a meeting with the Russian officials last week. The source -- who is in touch with current officials -- says "details were discussed that should not have been discussed."

Intelligence concerns 07:29

Israeli officials have not yet confirmed that they supplied the intelligence shared by Mr. Trump. "Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump," Rod Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., said in a statement.

The Trump administration now insists that whatever Mr. Trump shared with the Russian government, it was "wholly appropriate" for him to do so.

"What the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information between the president and any leaders with whom he's engaged," Gen. H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, told reporters on Tuesday.

In January, multiple Israeli newspapers reported that their country's government had been warned by U.S. intelligence officials not to be cautious when sharing information with Mr. Trump because it could be passed on to Russia. Israel's primary rival in the region, Iran, is a close Russian ally, meaning that information shared with Moscow could potentially wind up with Tehran.

"The Russians have the widest intelligence collection mechanism in the world outside of our own. They can put together a good picture with just a few details," John Sipher, a former CIA officer who ran the agency's Russia program, told the Times. "They can marry President Trump's comments with their own intelligence, and intelligence from their allies. They can also deploy additional resources to find out details."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.