Remember that infamous Oval Office meeting Trump had with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak the morning after he fired FBI Director James Comey? He gave them classified information that could have led to the discovery of a CIA asset high up in the Russian government, forcing the CIA to undertake a daring extraction of that source, CNN reports:
In a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017, the United States successfully extracted from Russia one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government, multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge told CNN.
A person directly involved in the discussions said that the removal of the Russian was driven, in part, by concerns that President Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy.
The decision to carry out the extraction occurred soon after a May 2017 meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. The intelligence, concerning ISIS in Syria, had been provided by Israel.
The disclosure to the Russians by the President, though not about the Russian spy specifically, prompted intelligence officials to renew earlier discussions about the potential risk of exposure, according to the source directly involved in the matter.
Trump defended what he said at the time by saying that he’s the president and he can declassify anything if he wants to. Which is true, but that doesn’t mean doing so doesn’t have consequences that, of course, he never considered. Hell, he may have wanted them to find the source, given his lapdog status for Putin. But the CIA didn’t want to take any chances and they apparently successfully got the source out of Russia. That source’s identity and whereabouts remains secret, as it should.The former Republican Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, former FBI agent and Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers was interviewed by CNN and discussed how difficult it is to develop such a source, who give us information at very high risk to themselves. If Putin had discovered their identity, they would have been killed instantly.
“The goal of the intelligence services at any time with our adversaries is how close can you get to plans and intentions by the government,” said Rogers. “And those are always the hardest sources to come by. They tend to be closest to the decision makers that are kind of remunerating about their options or North Korean options or Russian options, and always the hardest sources to get and candidly most of those sources don’t just show up at your door and you get one, you tend to grow into these kind of jobs, and are developed over a period, a long period of time, to be able to be recruited and asked to do something, to create an act of treason against their country, and certainly an act of patriotism toward the United States by giving us information that keeps us all safe.”
It is extraordinarily time-consuming, difficult and risky to turn someone that high up into an asset for American intelligence and Trump burned that one without giving it a moment’s thought. The old saying is that loose lips sink ships and Trump’s lips are so loose they flap in the breeze even more than his hair.