When a CNN reporter was asked by Trump administration officials not to report the name of the city where intelligence had been collected on ISIS, the network agreed not to do it. President Donald Trump, though, slipped the details to Russian officials.
In March, CNN’s Evan Perez learned from intelligence officials that ISIS was developing explosives to be hidden in electronic devices and activated on international flights. Perez was asked not to reveal the city where the intelligence came from, because “it would, they insisted, get people killed,” CNN’s Jake Tapper said Tuesday. Perez did not include the name of the city in his story for the cable network.
But in a meeting with Russian officials last week, Trump revealed classified information to one of America’s greatest adversaries. Part of that information reportedly included naming the city where the ISIS intelligence came from.
“It’s the same city,” Tapper said in a scathing takedown. “It’s the same city that CNN was cautioned not to report.”
Among the chief concerns among Trump administration officials about Perez’s reporting was that sharing certain details would “tip off American adversaries about sources and methods used to gather the intelligence,” Tapper said. Along with Perez, CNN executives were told that sharing the location of the city “would get people killed.”
Trump admitted on Twitter, after The Washington Post broke the story Monday, that he shared intelligence information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. But he said it was his right to do so.
In a following tweet, Trump then complained about “LEAKERS” in the White House. The irony was apparently lost on him.
“You can call these sources disloyal, traitors, or whatever you want,” Conservative pundit Erick Erickson wrote Tuesday. “But please ask yourself a question — if the President, through inexperience and ignorance, is jeopardizing our national security and will not take advice or corrective action, what other means are available to get the President to listen and recognize the error of his ways?”
Trump’s strong connections to Russia are being investigated by the FBI. During a federal investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his connection to Russia, Trump asked FBI director James Comey to “let this go,” according to a memo by Comey reported by The New York Times. Trump later fired Comey.
Tapper said White House officials are still trying to keep secret the location of the city from which it obtained the information on ISIS.
“Just so you know, as of today, before this broadcast, we are still being told by the Trump administration to not report the name of the city,” Tapper said. “And we won’t.”