Israel has changed its intelligence-sharing protocols with the United States after President Trump revealed highly classified intelligence information to Russian diplomats that had come from Israel, according to a Wednesday interview with Israel’s defense minister.
“I can confirm that we did a spot repair and that there’s unprecedented intelligence cooperation with the United States,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told Army Radio, Voice of America reported.
Army Radio is a nationwide Israeli network operated by the Israel Defense Forces.
“What we had to clarify with our friends in the United States, we did. We did our checks,” Liberman said, but he declined to say what changes had been made.
“Not everything needs to be discussed in the media; some things need to be talked about in closed rooms,” he said.
Trump revealed the classified intelligence on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak while meeting with them earlier this month at the White House.
The information — related to an ISIS threat involving bombs planted inside laptop computers carried on airplanes — was provided by Israel through an intelligence-sharing arrangement, but the country did not give the United States permission to share the information with Russia.
A U.S. official with knowledge of the meeting said Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies” and boasted that he had “great intel.”
And Israeli intelligence officials reportedly vented their anger at their American counterparts that the disclosure may have jeopardized an important source of information.
Trump on Twitter defended his disclosure to the Russians, writing, “As president I wanted to share with Russia [at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting] which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”
And on Monday during an appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, Trump said that he “never mentioned the word or the name Israel” during the Oval Office meeting.
“They’re all saying I did, so you have another story wrong,” Trump said in Jerusalem. “Never mentioned the word Israel.”
Netanyahu, meanwhile, said during the meeting with Trump that “intelligence cooperation is terrific” with the United States and has “never been better.”
The information was reportedly gathered by a spy embedded within the terrorist group that was working on behalf of Israel, although U.S. and Israeli authorities have neither confirmed nor denied the source was linked to Israel.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster, who was in the room during the meeting with the Russians, said last week Trump “wasn’t even aware of where this information came from” because “he wasn’t briefed on the source.”