It was reported on Thursday that in a meeting with Russian officials at the White House in May, President Donald Trump was guilty of a loose-lips blunder, revealing sensitive details about a daring Israeli spy mission in Syria.
Vanity Fair reported that on May 10, President Trump met with high-ranking Russian envoys, Sergey Kislyak and Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office. In the course of the meeting, President Trump revealed details of a secret Israeli spy mission deep into enemy territory.
The Israeli operation in February involved commandoes from the elite Sayeret Makal unit being taken by helicopter deep into Syria alongside agents from Mossad, Israel’s foreign spy service. Using vehicles with Syrian markings, the commandoes patrolled the area while the Mossad agents placed a surveillance device where it could overhear Islamic State (ISIS) communications. As a result of the mission, Israeli intelligence discovered that ISIS was working on a plan to recreate an Al Qaeda trick of turning laptops into bombs that could not be detected by airport security. This led to a four-month ban by Homeland Security ban on laptops being taken on to flights.
The Vanity Fair report cited two unnamed experts on Israeli intelligence who claimed that President Trump revealed details including the city where the operation took place, which would indicate the source who alerted the Israeli intelligence to the ISIS plan.
The presidential blunder sent tremors through the delicate relations that connect the Israeli and American intelligence communities. Russia has warm diplomatic relations with Israel however they are actively engaged in supporting Syrian President Basha al-Assad’s regime.
One Israeli official told Buzzfeed News, ”We have an arrangement with America which is unique to the world of intelligence sharing. We do not have this relationship with any other country.”
“To know that this intelligence is shared with others, without our prior knowledge? That is, for us, our worst fears confirmed.”