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Classified Intel Trump Told the Russians Was Obtained By Infiltrating ISIS Bombmakers Online

President Trump shares a laugh with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak (Russian Foreign Ministry/ Flickr)
President Trump shares a laugh with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak (Russian Foreign Ministry/ Flickr)

Remember when President Trump spilled highly classified intelligence to Russian officials in the Oval Office? We now have a report on what kind of intelligence Trump shared. The extremely sensitive info was about ISIS plans to hide bombs in consumer electronics. And it came from Israeli cyber specialists who infiltrated a group of bombmakers in Syria.


President Trump took a lot of heat for inviting top Russian officials, Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak, into the Oval Office on May 10th, just one day after firing FBI Director James Comey. Trump later admitted that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation. But the intelligence community was even more outraged when they heard that Trump shared top secret intelligence with the Russians.

It was later revealed that the intelligence was Code Word classified, a step even beyond top secret. And it was also revealed that the source of the intelligence was Israel. Vladimir Putin even trolled US intelligence by offering to make transcripts of the Oval Office meeting public. But according to a new report in the New York Times, we now know that the intelligence was specifically about ISIS attempts to place explosives in electronic devices like laptops. And that it came from an Israeli source that had infiltrated a Syrian bomb-making group online.


From the New York Times:

The intelligence was so exquisite that it enabled the United States to understand how the weapons could be detonated, according to two American officials familiar with the operation. The information helped prompt a ban in March on large electronic devices in carry-on luggage on flights from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries to the United States and Britain.

It was also part of the classified intelligence that President Trump is accused of revealing when he met in the Oval Office last month with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, and the ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak. His disclosure infuriated Israeli officials.

The ISIS-affiliated group was reportedly making bombs to look exactly like laptop batteries, sparking the concern about the adequacy of airport security standards.

It’s probably safe to assume that whatever infiltration of the group Israeli intelligence had achieved has been blown now. An absolutely bewildered looking Trump explained that he “never mentioned the word or the name Israel” during his visit with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu back in May. That absolutely dazzling spectacle seemingly confirmed that the intelligence was from Israel. (Because our president is a complete idiot.)


Israel has even reportedly changed how it shares intelligence with the United States as a result of the incident, though we don’t know much about the details.


The information about the intelligence leak from the president is part of a larger story in the Times about how difficult it is to penetrate ISIS computer networks compared with nation-state actors like Iran. The largest problem, of course, is that the computer networks are used “not to develop or launch weapons systems but to recruit, raise money and coordinate future attacks.”

But it’s hard to imagine that intelligence gathered about ISIS would be helpful anyway if our own president can’t help but share it with the world. Again, not only is Trump an idiot, but he’s legitimately a risk to the safety and security of the United States at this point.


[New York Times]

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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Sensitive Compartmented Information is not “above” or “beyond” top secret. You can have secret SCI or even confidential SCI. This widely known yet perpetually misreported fact is too easy not to correct. Please stop being lazy.