PHILADELPHIA, PA — The New York Times on Monday published details of what it described as an Israeli intelligence operation that penetrated the Islamic State and produced “exquisite” insider information.
The Times claimed intelligence garnered in the Israeli operation was allegedly revealed by President Trump to Russian diplomats in a meeting last month. The newspaper failed to note that its own revelation of the purported Israeli operation, if accurate, could expose Israel’s antiterrorism intelligence collection operations.
The article, by reporters David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, is titled, “U.S. Cyberweapons, Used Against Iran and North Korea, Are a Disappointment Against ISIS.”
The Times reported that one of the “rare” U.S. successes against the Islamic State “belongs at least in part to Israel, which was America’s partner in the attacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities.”
Citing unnamed American officials, the Times reveals the purported Israeli intelligence operation:
Top Israeli cyberoperators penetrated a small cell of extremist bombmakers in Syria months ago, the officials said. That was how the United States learned that the terrorist group was working to make explosives that fooled airport X-ray machines and other screening by looking exactly like batteries for laptop computers.
The intelligence was so exquisite that it enabled the United States to understand how the weapons could be detonated, according to two American officials familiar with the operation. The information helped prompt a ban in March on large electronic devices in carry-on luggage on flights from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries to the United States and Britain.
In the next paragraph, Sanger and Schmitt perhaps bared their intentions in reporting on the alleged Israeli operation:
It was also part of the classified intelligence that President Trump is accused of revealing when he met in the Oval Office last month with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, and the ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak. His disclosure infuriated Israeli officials.
Schmitt also was the co-author of a May 16 Times article quoting a “current and a former American official” claiming it was Israel that provided alleged classified intelligence purportedly disclosed by Trump to Russian officials during the meeting that month.
That article was released just days before Trump departed on a visit to the Jewish state.
The Times’ claim followed a Washington Post exclusive that first reported that purported classified information was allegedly revealed by Trump during a meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador. The Post report cited unnamed “current and former U.S. officials.”
It was the Times that first outed Israel as the alleged source of the information.
Like the article today by Sanger and Schmitt, the Times’ May article first outing Israel as the alleged source of intelligence also failed to note the newspaper’s own reportage, if accurate, had publically exposed Israel as the source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
The Post article acknowledged that as president “Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.”
The Times cited Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, as telling reporters that Trump was not aware of the source of the information.
Israeli officials reached by the Times last month would not confirm that Israel provided the intelligence, which reportedly concerns the inner workings of the Islamic State.
McMaster told the Post that “the president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation.”
“At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly,” McMaster stated.
Later, McMaster stated the leak may put U.S. national security at risk. “I think national security is put at risk by this leak and by leaks like this,” he said. “And there are a number of instances where this has occurred and I think it’s important to investigate these sort of things.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
With research by Joshua Klein.