Rex Tillerson says Trump doesn't need to apologize for sharing Israeli intel

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday that President Trump has nothing to apologize for after sharing Israeli intelligence with Russian officials about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) during a recent White House meeting.

En route to Tel Aviv from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tillerson was asked by reporters aboard Air Force One if the president plans to apologize for sharing Israeli intelligence with the Russians.

"I don't know that there's anything to apologize for," Tillerson said.

Asked about Israel's concerns, he added, "To the extent the Israelis have any questions, or clarification, I'm sure we're happy to provide that."

Mr. Trump shared the classified intelligence during an Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, a day after the president fired James Comey as FBI director.

In the days following his dismissal, The Washington Post reported that during Mr. Trump's meeting with the Russian officials, he shared highly classified intelligence, which CBS News confirmed originated with the Israeli government. National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster, who attended the meeting, insisted last week that whatever the president shared with the Russian government, it was "wholly appropriate" for him to do so.

After it was revealed that Israel had supplied the intelligence, Danny Yatom, a former chief of the Israeli spy agency Mossad, warned that Israel should "think twice" before "conveying very sensitive information."

During the same Oval Office meeting with the Russian officials, Mr. Trump told them that he fired Comey, whom he called a "nut job," and said his dismissal relieved "great pressure" on him, according to a report Friday by The New York Times.

The president arrived in Israel Monday for a two-day trip with scheduled meetings in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

CBS News' Katiana Krawchenko contributed to this report.

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.