‘This is incredibly serious,’ says ex-deputy Mossad head Ben Barak of Trump; former operative Shimron rebukes US intelligence agencies, says, ‘Trump shouldn’t know these things.’
Trump has “broken all the rules,” said former deputy Mossad head Ram Ben Barak in response to Thursday’s Vanity Fair article revealing new information about the US president’s revealing of top secret Mossad information to the Russians.
“Cooperation between intel organizations is common and happens all the time,” stated Ben Barak. “The minute one side tells a third party of this cooperation, it’s tantamount to breaking all the rules.”
Admitting he was not privy to all that transpired in Trump’s meeting with the Russian officials, Ben Barak said that nevertheless, “if indeed details were revealed, it goes against understanding and could endanger intel sources. This is very serious, and it goes without saying that it would affect future cooperation.”
While not diminishing from the seriousness of Trump’s alleged intel sharing, former Mossad operative Gad Shimron was less willing to take the Vanity Fair report for its word. He also refuted Ben Barak’s claims that sharing the minute details of such an operation with the president of a foreign country is considered “common” in the intelligence world.
“He’s the president, not an operations officer,” he said. “Even if Israeli intelligence shared the details of this operation and its progression with the Americans—which is highly irregular—I find it hard to believe that one of them (the American side—ed) passed it on to the president.
“I find it hard to believe that someone shared this information,” he added. “(When) there are operations, you report on the results, unless it was carried out in cooperation with the Americans, in which case they would know about it.”
The Vanity Fair article reported that US President Donald Trump revealed to Russia that a special operations mission by the IDF elite commando unit Sayeret Matkal and the Mossad was carried out deep inside Syrian territory.
Back in June, it was revealed that Israeli cyber operators were able to penetrate a small cell of extremist bomb makers in Syria who were working to make explosives resembling laptop batteries capable of bypassing X-ray machines unnoticed.
According to Vanity Fair’s report, the operation—which took place in February—aimed to acquire information on new explosive technology being developed by Ibrahim al-Asiri, an al-Qaeda’s chief bomb maker.
Trump’s intel divulging was first made known in May, when it was reported that he had disclosed highly classified information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak about a planned operation, plunging the White House into mayhem. A later reported stated that the intel had originally been received from Israel, and that by tipping off the Russians, Trump had allegedly put an Israeli spy’s life at risk.
For the time being, Israel is maintaining its silence regarding Thursday’s Vanity Fair report. The article did, however, state that due to Trump’s indiscretion, security measures were now being upped at US airports, and that repeated warnings have been issued to travelers passing through Muslim country airports.
Shimron also posited that at the end of the day, even if Trump did pass on the information, it does not endanger the IDF and could even add to Israel’s operations professional. “Things have been made public before, there are books, stories and legends about this. So here’s another story that increases Israel’s reputation, which is never a bad thing.”
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