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By Russ Read
Two former Israel intelligence chiefs have suggested Israel should consider holding back intelligence from the U.S. in light of President Donald Trump’s recent disclosure to Russia.
“If tomorrow I were asked to pass information to the CIA, I would do everything I could to not pass it to them. Or I would first protect myself and only then give it, and what I’d give would be totally neutered,” Shabtai Shavit, who headed Mossad in the 1990s, told The Times of Israel in a phone interview published Wednesday. “If some smart guy decides that he’s allowed to leak information, then your partners in cooperation will be fewer or just won’t be at all.”
Shavit’s comments follow reports that Trump divulged highly classified intelligence to Russian diplomats during a meeting earlier this month. The New York Times has claimed Israel provided the information, which ABC then reported came from a spy inside the Islamic State terrorist group.
Israel has not acknowledged it is the source of the intelligence, while the president defended his decision in a series of Tweets Tuesday, claiming that he shared the information in order to get Russia to bolster its efforts in the fight against ISIS.
Israel and the U.S. have a long history of intelligence sharing, which has become increasingly important in the face of the threats posed by Iran and ISIS. But for former Mossad Chief Danny Yatom, Trump’s actions were a step too far.
“We need to punish the Americans, it’s possible, so that we don’t put Trump in a position where he is again tempted, we need to abstain from transferring information to him, or to only give him partial information so that he can’t endanger any source,” Yatom told The Times of Israel.
Trump’s disclosure was hardly the first time a president has declassified information, nor is it the first time a U.S. leader has failed to keep shared intelligence secret.
“It is amazing how countries continue to deal with us even after all kinds of leaks but it is because they are so dependent on our intelligence,” Joseph Wippl, a former CIA officer and current Professor of Practice at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies, told the The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I’ve heard senior U.S. government promises of secrecy but compromised as soon as it became politically expedient.”