Israeli intelligence, Iranian missiles: Trump’s history of the classified information game

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AFP – Court documents unsealed on Friday showed that FBI agents seized a number of top-secret documents in a raid on former US President Donald Trump’s Florida home.

The raid was just the latest episode in which the former American leader was accused of toying with and misusing classified information.

Iranian missile site

As President, Trump had the power to unilaterally release information. Nevertheless, some of his actions left the US secret services stunned.

On August 30, 2019, he tweeted what is believed to be a top-secret high-resolution image of an Iranian missile launch site.

“The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir [Space Launch Vehicle] Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran,” Trump said.

Israeli Secret Service

On May 10, 2017, Trump met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergei Kislyak in the Oval Office of the White House.

At the meeting, Trump told the two Russians about intelligence information the United States had received from an ally in the Middle East about an Islamic State conspiracy.

As it turns out, the top-secret information came from Israel, which was angered by the disclosure, according to foreign media reports.

Location of nuclear submarines

In April 2017, Trump informed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that two US nuclear submarines were off the coast of North Korea and had “a lot of firepower,” according to a Filipino transcript of their call.

The Pentagon very rarely reveals the locations of its submarines, which are critical to US strategic defense power.

Secret nuclear weapons

In a 2019 interview, Trump told writer Bob Woodward about an unknown US nuclear power that may have been a deceptive boast or leaked top-secret information.

“I built a nuclear weapons system, a weapons system that no one in this country has ever had,” Trump told Woodward.

“We have things that Putin and Xi have never heard of before,” he added.

Details of the special forces raid

After a US operation killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria in October 2019, Trump, who boasted about the attack, revealed numerous details the Pentagon would normally withhold, such as how many Helicopters were involved, how the commandos entered the residence, and that the US had information about Islamic State’s use of phones and internet.

The information “could contribute to the reverse engineering of our intelligence methods by the adversary,” former special operations commander Michael Nagata told Politico.

Secrecy with Putin

Trump has also withheld information from his spy bosses. In July 2018, Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, was visibly surprised at the Aspen Security Forum when the host told him the White House had tweeted that Russian President Vladimir Putin was invited to visit Washington.

“Say that again?” said Coats.

A year later, Coats said he was in the dark about what Trump discussed three days earlier in a two-hour one-on-one with the wily Russian leader.

“I don’t know what happened at that meeting,” Coats said.

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