Israeli hackers infiltrated the Islamic State (ISIS) terror organization earlier this year, the New York Times reported on Monday.
The paper said Israeli cyberspies infiltrated an ISIS bomb-making unit and provided intelligence that the group was working on a bomb disguised as a laptop battery in order to avoid airport security.
US President Donald Trump leaked the intelligence to Russian officials last month during a meeting in the Oval Office with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, and Moscow’s ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak.
Israel’s official reaction to the leak was muted, but in private conversation intelligence professionals questioned the future of intelligence-sharing with US agencies under the current administration. They said at the time that the leak could put the source of the intelligence at risk.
After the publication of the leak, the president insisted that he had a right to share classified information, Tweeting that “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,” and adding that he shared the information because he wants Russia “to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”
During his visit to Israel later in May, Trump appeared to confirm that Israeli sources were the source of the leaked information, telling reporters that “I never said the word Israel.”