Israel was the U.S. ally that collected the highly classified intelligence that President Donald Trump reportedly shared in a meeting with Russian officials last week, NBC News confirmed with three government officials with knowledge of the matter.
The New York Times first reported the news.
In an off-camera briefing with reporters, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said he could not comment on the news. The press secretary said, however, that the U.S. appreciates the “strong relationship that we have with Israel when it comes to intelligence sharing.”
Late Monday, The Washington Post first reported that Trump had divulged highly sensitive information related to the Islamic State during the meeting. The Times, BuzzFeed and Reuters later confirmed the Post’s report.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump defended his conduct in his meeting with key Russian diplomats, calling it “very successful.”
Speaking with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a White House visit, Trump said the United States wants to get as many partners as possible involved in the fight against the terror group ISIS.
Legally, the president can share classified information when he wants. But experts have said such disclosures can threaten intelligence gathering and reduce the United States’ ability to stop potential threats.
The administration has vehemently defended Trump’s actions. National security advisor H.R. McMaster said Tuesday that the president’s discussions with Russian officials last week were “wholly appropriate.”