A Tuesday report from The Daily Beast claims that White House officials were hesitant to tell Donald Trump about the alleged Russian bounties for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan out of fear he would use social media to spread classified information.
“Trump has little patience for intelligence briefings, especially when the news isn’t good for him,” a former Trump administration official said. “These briefings happen irregularly, and are often free-for-alls. He also shows little respect for classified information and might tweet about it — which would in counter to efforts to handle the issue out of the public eye.”
It wouldn’t be the first time Trump has allegedly shared classified information on social media. As The Inquisitr previously reported, the president said last year that he was within his rights to tweet a classified photo allegedly taken by a U.S. intelligence aircraft. The picture showed the aftermath of an Iran rocket launch accident, and a U.S. defense official reportedly claimed that it came from a classified intelligence briefing.
As reported by Business Insider, Trump’s revelation of the allegedly classified photo drew pushback from intel veterans. Alex Stamos, the Director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, suggested that the tweet could have far-reaching implications for U.S. national security.
“The propensity for saying the quiet part out loud is less amusing when it blows the cover on a multi-decade, multi-president campaign to disrupt Iranian missile and nuclear development with minimal loss of life.”
Outside of concern around Trump’s handling of classified information, the Daily Beast report cited a former Trump administration official who claimed that intelligence of the Russian bounties should have been brought directly to Trump. According to the report, there was a conflict within the intelligence community over the accuracy of the information, with some questioning the methods and corroboration surrounding the assessment. Others reportedly believed the information was vital as it posed “immediate risks” to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Per The Daily Beast, intelligence officials sometimes choose to avoid disclosing intelligence to Trump on sensitive matters depending on the nature of the evidence, such in the case that the knowledge is deemed to be “less important information.”
As reported by NPR, Trump claims that he was not briefed on the Russian bounties because the intelligence was “not credible.” Trump said that the New York Times report on the information could be “another fabricated Russia Hoax” created by the publication, which he called “fake news.”
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman claimed that no corroborating evidence has supported the allegations. Nevertheless, he said that the Defense Department will continue to evaluate relevant intelligence to keep U.S. troops safe.