As politicians in Israel raced to alleviate concerns over US President Donald Trump’s alleged disclosure of classified Israeli information to the Russians, the country’s former top spy has warned of the damage the episode could do to US-Israeli intelligence sharing and to Israel’s ability to gather information on ISIS.
Israeli intelligence was a source for some of the highly sensitive information about the terror group’s bomb-making capabilities that the President discussed with Russian diplomats at the Oval Office last week, US and diplomatic officials told CNN on Tuesday.
Danny Yatom, who led Israel’s secretive Mossad agency from 1996-1998, warned of a “very bad development” and a possible “catastrophe” if Trump compromised an Israeli source during the White House meeting.
“If we will assess that our sources of intelligence are in danger due to the way it will be handled by the United States, then we will have to keep the very sensitive information close to our chests,” Yatom told CNN.
The revelation may be a significant blow to Israel’s ability to collect intelligence about ISIS, Yatom warned.
“I hate to reiterate it, but it might cause a dramatic change to our capabilities to continue and to collect vital information on ISIS,” he said. “The enemy can very easily identify and recognize where the information came from and start searching for collaborators.”
Israel and the US would not publicly comment on claims Israel was the source of the intel. But the White House has insisted that Trump did not risk national security by sharing information with top Russian officials and revealed that the President did not even know the source of the intelligence he divulged.
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SOURCE: CNN, Oren Liebermann