Monday, May 22, 2017

Official says Israel and US have closest intel relationship

Published on May 22, 2017 [includes video]

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(17 May 2017) An Israeli official said Wednesday that the U.S. and Israel have the "closest possible intelligence relationship", following President Donald Trump's disclosure of classified information to senior Russian officials, which had been supplied by Israel.

Israel's Deputy Minister for Public Diplomacy Michael Oren said that relationship between Washington and Jerusalem "will continue to be close and will grow stronger still in the future."

He made the statements days before Trump is due to arrive for a state visit in Israel.
Israel has yet to acknowledge claims from U.S. officials that it was the source of the highly classified information about an Islamic State plot that Trump divulged to Russian diplomats.

Trump himself said he had "an absolute right" as president to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russia. Yet U.S. allies and some members of Congress expressed concern bordering on alarm.

Trump appears to have shared the information without Israel's consent, which would mark a severe violation of the confidentiality of their intelligence-sharing agreement.

Even more remarkable is that Trump chose to confide in representatives of an adversary, who could relay the information to its allies Iran and Syria, bitter enemies of Israel, and potentially find the source.

Trump is due to arrive in Israel next week as part of his first overseas trip as president.
Israel has looked to Trump as a close ally but there has been growing apprehension over his unpredictability.

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