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A nation must think before it acts.
When Donald Trump was elected, U.S. intelligence officials feared that allies would stop sharing critical intelligence information for fear that information might be passed on to Russia. European countries in particular rightfully worried their secrets would land in the hands of Vladimir Putin even as he meddled in their elections.
Wednesday, it appears those fears were realized.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the infamous Ambassador Sergey Kislyak must have giggled inside, maybe even smirked a little as Russia’s preferred president bragged to them about how “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day.” Trump’s bravado allegedly revealed highly classified specifics about an Islamic State terror group plot to bomb civilian aviation, one that has triggered months of incremental bans on laptops being carried into airplane cabins bound for the U.S.
He gave that information—which came from an ally as part of what The Washington Post describes as “an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government”—to an adversary, Russia. The same adversary under scrutiny for its widespread hacking of American leaders, including the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, the personal emails of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former NATO Commander Philip Breedlove—hacking that may have tipped the election in favor of Trump.