Has the president of the United States risked the life of an informant? According to media reports, an American spy had to be withdrawn from Russia – for fear of being exposed.
According to various media reports, in 2017 the United States withdrew one of its most important informants within the Russian government on a secret mission. The US news channel CNN and the "New York Times" report cite government circles. According to CNN, the decision was based, among other things, on the fear that US President Donald Trump could endanger the informant with his neglected management of security information. The station mentions several civil servants, but without naming names.
The spy was then rescued after a "high period of fearful months" in US intelligence services – this was soon after a Trump meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Washington. At the meeting, which was also attended by the then Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kisljak, Trump chatted about highly sensitive information on the Islamic State (IS) in Syria. But the secret services were also alarmed by Trump's private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in July of that year. State Secretary Mike Pompeo, then director of the CIA, warned government officials that too much information had been leaked about the spy.
The New York Times also reported the case. However, the newspaper stated that the reason for the informant's departure was different: the US media had speculated after the US election about how the intelligence services could learn so much about a suspicion of Russian interference – and they suspected a Kremlin – some informants behind the information. Based on this, US officials did not want to guarantee source security in Russia by the end of 2016.
The White House denies the CNN report
There is still no official response from the government to the report – even apparently the State Department declined to comment. The White House spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, told CNN at the request that the cover was "not only wrong, but has the potential to endanger life".
A CIA spokesman also criticized: parts of the CNN report were incorrect and based on inaccurate information. "The misleading speculation that the President's management of our nation's most sensitive intelligence that can be accessed on a daily basis has led to a suspect appeal is not correct," quoted Brittany Bramell from CNN.
Apparently the spy was close to Putin
According to reports, the informant was considered one of the most reliable sources of information on the Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin. He reported for decades to the United States from Russia, wrote the "New York Times". His loss should therefore have meant a significant arrest for the intelligence services. The president of the United States was informed of the withdrawal plan, CNN wrote. The identity of the spy remains secret.
Only in some contexts is it extremely difficult to recruit a source with key access. A source in a key position can happen once every generation, if ever. Keeping it safe is a daunting job (Lake "The Billion Dollar Spy"). It is a big problem to lose this kind of sources. https://t.co/yHVY2kK6y5
– John Sipher (@john_sipher) 9 September 2019
Former CIA staff member John Sipher has written about the report that losing such an informant is a big problem. "Recruiting a source in a key position is extremely difficult and can only work once every generation to protect it is a big challenge," Sipher wrote on Twitter.
Trump's difficult relationship with the CIA
The relationship of trust between Donald Trump and the CIA has been interrupted more than ever in the history of the United States. Again and again, the president of the United States because of his criticized gossip, information of his own intelligence, has repeatedly challenged publicly, as a statement by his former head of intelligence that Iran he is not currently working on a nuclear weapon. Trump has mocked Dan Coats information on Twitter as "wrong" and "naive".
More recently, the president was charged in August with publishing secret information about a suspected rocket launch in Iran with a photo on Twitter. Trump has unintentionally revealed with a sharp picture of the details how sophisticated US satellite technology is in the meantime, experts have criticized. "The publication of this image does not seem to correspond to the usual American policy of managing such information", for example, wrote a satellite imagery expert at Stanford University.
Russia's business is a trigger
The intelligence services are also convinced that Moscow has intervened with hacking and other methods in the 2016 US election campaign to help Trump. The president, in turn, has repeatedly expressed his skepticism. When Russian President Vladimir Putin denied interference in the election campaign during a joint press conference with Trump last year, the US president did not underestimate his intelligence services, but called the complaint to Putin "extremely strong".
Special investigator Robert Mueller has been investigating for nearly two years whether the Trump campaign camp had colluded with Russian officials over Moscow's alleged interference in the US election campaign and whether Trump, as president of the states United, it had subsequently hampered the justice investigation. At the end of March, Mueller presented a final report, which was published in blackened parts. At the end of May, Mueller officially declared his work finished. Trump feels relieved by the report of all the charges.
Mueller's final report states that there have been numerous contacts between Trump's camp and representatives of Russia. However, investigators have not found sufficient evidence to prove a crime. In addition, Mueller's team listed several Trump attempts to influence the investigation. Although Mueller remained open, if Trump was therefore guilty of legal disability. He specifically did not release the president from this charge, but put everything else in the hands of the congress.
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