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US Spies 'Warned Israel not to Share Intelligence with Trump'

Raf Sanchez, Jerusalem

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January 13, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Telegraph" -  US spies warned their Israeli counterparts that Russia may have “levers of pressure” over Donald Trump and told them to be careful about sharing intelligence with the White House in case it was passed on to the Kremlin, according to Israeli media reports. 

The American intelligence officials reportedly told the Israelis not to share sensitive information with Mr Trump’s aides until the incoming president’s relationship with Russia had been fully investigated.

The claim was made in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth and cannot be confirmed. 

A spokesman for Benjamin Netanyahu did not respond to a request for comment, and the CIA also declined to comment.

But if true it underscores the extraordinary state of relations between Mr Trump and US intelligence, with American spies openly warning foreign allies that the new president may be compromised by Russia. 

The Yedioth Ahronoth story, written by the investigative journalist Ronen Bergman, claimed to have details about a recent meeting between American and Israeli intelligence officials. 

“Israeli officials who attended that meeting said that their American counterparts spoke despairingly about the election of Trump, who has repeatedly lashed out at the American intelligence community,” Mr Bergman wrote. 

He continued: “The American officials went on to say that they believed that Putin has ‘levers of pressure’ over Trump—but refrained from going into any detail.”

The potential leverage referred to is believed to be a dossier of unverified but potentially explosive allegations against Mr Trump which was compiled by Christopher Steele, a former MI6 agent. 

The dossier was known to US intelligence for months before it erupted into the public sphere this week. 

Mr Trump has strongly denied that Russia has any leverage over him. On Friday, he tweeted that the “phony allegations against me were put together by my political opponents and a failed spy afraid of being sued”.

 While relations between the US and Israeli governments have often been publicly tense during the Obama administration, their spy agencies have worked closely together. 

The two sides collaborated on Operation Olympic Games, a covert campaign of cyber warfare designed to sabotage Iran’s nuclear programme. Israel is alleged to have also assassinated four Iranian nuclear scientists as part of its effort to disrupt Iranian nuclear development. 

While Israel has cordial relations with Russia, Israeli intelligence would be afraid that any secrets which reached Moscow might then be passed on to Tehran. Russia and Iran are both fighting on the side of the Assad regime in Syria and are known to share some intelligence.   

“The Israelis who attended the meeting said that the Americans advised them not to expose any sensitive sources to members of the Trump administration, lest that information reach Iranian hands, until it becomes clear that Trump does not have a compromised relationship with Russia and is not vulnerable to extortion,” the Yedioth Ahronoth story said. 

U.S. Intelligence Officials Reportedly Warn Israeli Counterparts Against Sharing Info With Trump Administration

Shared information could be leaked to Russia and onward to Iran, American officials implied to Israelis in closed meeting, saying Kremlin has 'leverages of pressure' over Trump, Ronen Bergman reports.

By Haaretz

January 13, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Haaretz" -  Israeli intelligence officials are concerned that the exposure of classified information to their American counterparts under a Trump administration could lead to their being leaked to Russia and onward to Iran, investigative journalist Ronen Bergman reported by Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot on Thursday.

The intelligence concerns, which have been discussed in closed forums recently, are based on suspicions of unreported ties between President-elect Donald Trump, or his associates, and the government of Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

As Russian intelligence is associated with intelligence officials in Tehran, highly classified information, such as Israel's clandestine methods of operation and intelligence sources, could potentially reach Iran. Such information has been shared with the United States in the past.

American intelligence officials expressed despair at the election of Trump during a recent meeting with their Israeli counterparts, Bergman reported. They said that they believed that Putin had “leverages of pressure” over Trump, though they did not elaborate. The American media reported on Wednesday that Russia has embarrassing intelligence about the president-elect.

According to Bergman, the American intelligence officials implied that Israel should “be careful” when transferring intelligence information to the White House and the National Security Council (NSC) following Trump's inauguration – at least until it is clear that Trump does not have inappropriate connections with Russia.

Cooperation between the Israeli and U.S. intelligence communities has intensified over the past two decades, with most of the joint operations directed, according to reports, against Iran. Hezbollah and Hamas were also intelligence targets. An official agreement in 2008 for comprehensive cooperation, including the exposure of sources and methods of action, reportedly led to impressive results, including the disruption of the Iranian nuclear program.

President Barack Obama put an end to offensive activity against Iran in 2013, at the start of secret talks between the U.S, and Iran over a nuclear agreement. However, the exposure of Israeli intelligence to the U.S. continued.

American officials are convinced that whistleblower Edward Snowden handed over intelligence to Moscow – in return for which he received political asylum – and that some of it was handed over to Tehran, in the context of Putin’s policy of increasing Iranian dependence on Moscow.