Former Israeli spy chiefs attack Trump for ‘intel leak’
Two former directors of Israel’s Mossad spy agency have attacked US President Donald Trump for his alleged sharing of highly classified, Israeli-obtained “intelligence” with Russia.
President Trump was surrounded by controversy over the weekend, when The Washington Post alleged that he had divulged secret information with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak during a recent meeting at the White House. While the Post did not reveal the origin of that information, it said the provider had not given “permission” to the US to share the info with Russia.
The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, later claimed that the intelligence had come from Israel and was about the bomb-making capabilities of the Daesh terrorist group.
Danny Yatom, who led Israel’s spy organization from 1996 to 1998, said on Wednesday that Tel Aviv had to “punish the Americans” over the leakage.
He said the disclosure would be a “catastrophe” if it turned out that the US president also compromised the Israeli “sources” in the Syrian city of Raqqah, Daesh’s so-called headquarters in Syria, during the White House meeting with the Russians.
“If we will assess that our sources of intelligence are in danger due to the way it will be handled by the United States, then we will have to keep the very sensitive information close to our chests,” he further said.
He said Israel had to refrain from “transferring information” to Trump or just provide him with “partial” intelligence lest he would “endanger” Mossad’s sources.
It was not clear why the alleged sharing of the information with Russia, which has been actively fighting Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria, would “endanger” the Israeli “sources.” But speculation has been raised that, in light of previous indications of quiet cooperation between Israel and Daesh, the Tel Aviv regime is now fearing a further revelation of its dealings with the internationally-designated terrorist group.
The unusually angry remarks by Yatom and similar comments by his predecessor, Shabtai Shavit, have only strengthened such speculation.
Shavit, who was Israel’s spy chief from 1986 to 1996, for his part, lambasted Trump and referred to him as a “bull in a china shop,” who he said could not run even a “corner shop.”
“Before he (Trump) makes any decision, he posts on Twitter. He tweets and then checks the responses in order to make his decision. Is that how you run a country?” Shavit said.
There have been reports that Israel offers medical treatment to militants wounded while operating in Syria in hospitals set up on the Golan Heights, Syrian territory that has been occupied by Israel. Back on April 9, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tel Aviv would continue treating wounded militants from Syria as part of what he claimed to be a “humanitarian effort.”
The Israeli regime also conducts military strikes against fighters from the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, who are, like Russia, helping the Syrian government fight Daesh.
The Syrian government says the Israeli strikes are meant to stiffen the spine of the anti-Damascus militants, who are facing increasing losses on the battlefield. Furthermore, the Syrian army has also repeatedly seized sizable quantities of Israeli-made weapons and advanced military equipment from the militants in Syria.
In September last year, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz quoted Israeli parliament member Akram Hasoon as saying that Israel was directly aiding the Takfiri terrorist group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, another terrorist group operating in Syria.
He revealed that an earlier attack by the Nusra group on the Druze Village of Khadr had had the support of Israeli minister for military affairs Avigdor Lieberman.
Most recently, Israel’s housing and construction minister Yoav Galant said it was time to “assassinate” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He said on Tuesday that killing Assad would be the first step in confronting Syria’s ally, Iran, which has also been offering advisory military help to the Syrian fight against terrorism.
The controversy over Trump’s alleged sharing of the information and the remarks by the former Israeli Mossad chiefs come ahead of Trump’s first trip to Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Trump on the phone on Tuesday night, reportedly avoiding the topic of the controversy and only speaking about the US president’s upcoming trip.