In an op-ed written by Andrew C. McCarthy, contributing editor for the National Review, he argues that Trump allegedly sharing classified information in a meeting with Russian diplomats is “no worse” than grossly questionable acts committed by the former administration and Hillary Clinton.
While stories continue to run amok about Trump allegedly disclosing sensitive information to Russia, as reported by the Washington Post, General McMaster denies the story has any truth.
McCarthy discusses how allegations hinge on whether or not Trump disclosed the name of a city in ISIS territory from which “an allied intelligence service discovered a threat to civil aviation.” He claims that by McMaster denouncing the report, he is thereby insisting Trump had not “disclosed” any “intelligence sources or methods,” or “military operations that were not already publicly known.”
His argument is that McMaster missed the point of Washington Post’s report.
McCarthy writes: “The paper claims not that Trump provided the identity of the source or the nature of the intelligence method involved, but that the president mentioned a city that is the locus of the information.” He added, “By saying Trump did not ‘disclose’ the source, is McMaster saying there’s no way that what was revealed could compromise the source?”
McCarthy then calls into question Trump’s competence, saying:
“Was the president trying to impress the Russians with his range of intelligence knowledge, even though the Russians would naturally assume an American president knew such things? If so, the incident would raise questions about Trump’s conduct of foreign policy.”
“The doubts they can create about our government’s reliability in keeping secrets may induce allied intelligence services to withhold vital information from us. And avoidable gaffes can happen to an official who is not well versed in the give-and-take of high-level diplomatic exchanges. That would not be an excuse: President of the United States is not an entry-level position.”
Next, he claims, not so long ago, the Obama administration was under fire for sharing intelligence with Russia about ISIS operations in Syria.
“When Osama bin Laden was killed, President Obama was not content to explain that fact to the American people. His administration gratuitously disclosed that the raid on the al-Qaeda emir’s compound in Pakistan produced a “trove” of actionable intelligence. From a national-security standpoint, this political grandstanding was foolish: It gave al-Qaeda operatives a heads-up that their cells and activities had likely been exposed, providing them the opportunity to disappear before our forces could roll them up.”
He also recounts further blunders made by Obama:
Remember when Obama told Putin’s factotum, Medvedev, to tell ol’ Vlad he’d have much more “flexibility” to accommodate Russian concerns after his 2012 reelection — patently signaling that Putin should just be patient and not pay too much attention to campaign rhetoric about dealing sternly with Moscow? And what of the to-and-fro over Obama’s coveted Iran nuclear deal? Is it necessary to remind Democrats that Obama entered secret side deals with the “death to America” regime that were withheld from Congress and the American people?
McCarthy points out there is a stark contrast between what Obama disclosed to a hostile government versus what Trump was attempting to do in garnering support against a common enemy.
That was not an instance of what Trump was apparently doing — sharing some intel with a hostile government in the (probably naïve) hope of getting cooperation from that government against a common enemy. Obama was actually partnering with a hostile regime through arrangements that were against American interests and that promoted Iranian interests.
The same could be said for Hillary Clinton and her “serial mishandling” of top-secret information, which was largely swept under the rug by Democrats.
When Democrats mishandle classified information, they are earnest progressives who understandably suffer the occasional lapse while struggling to make the international community a better place. When Republicans do it, they are incompetent morons.
I’m not suggesting that Trump be cut slack. This seems like it could be a serious error, and one that was easily avoidable. But after a couple of years of hearing the Iran deal and Mrs. Clinton’s homebrew server explained away, I’m just wondering when the media suddenly got so interested again in harmful White House dealings with hostile powers and the proper safeguarding of classified information.
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