Posted by Curt on 16 May, 2017 at 9:27 am. Be the first to comment!


Ed Morrissey:

“I understand you have another topic,” national security adviser H.R. McMaster joked with reporters at the beginning of his previously scheduled presser. The White House had already slated a briefing today to offer details on Donald Trump’s upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and the Vatican. The biggest news from that part of the briefing was the confirmation that Trump would be the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall, although it remains a private visit.

That’s not the news that the White House press corps wanted to discuss, however. Give McMaster credit for taking questions this time. And the very first question was on the Washington Post report, which McMaster still insists was false … in terms of whether or not the conversation was “appropriate”:

The bigger issue, McMaster declared, is the leaks that threaten national security:

McMaster later insisted that the sharing was “wholly appropriate” for “common action,” which … isn’t a denial about the classified nature of the information. He refused a number of opportunities to deny the information was classified, and said that the location of the city involved was not a big deal in terms of protecting sources and methods.

The problem with the Washington Post report was that it combined a leak with other speculation, according to McMaster, which is what made the overall thrust of the report false. Perhaps that’s true, but then … why did the national security team have to brief CIA leadership on the disclosure? Also, McMaster claimed that Trump had not been briefed on the source of the information he disclosed, which seems like another reason to question his judgment:

Eli Lake had broken that story an hour or so before the presser. Shouldn’t Trump have checked on that point first before deciding to disclose it to the Russians? He certainly has the authority to make disclosures on classified information as he sees fit, but whether Trump exercised good judgment is another question entirely. Disclosing intel without knowing its source does not show good judgment at all, for the same reasons raised in the initial report — it might not be something the source wanted shared with the Russians, and may not even be worth disclosing.

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