Top officials with one of America’s most important allies are threatening to stop sharing intelligence with the U.S. after President Trump revealed classified information from another close partner to the Russians.
“If it proves to be true that the American president passed on internal intelligence matters that would be highly worrying,” Burkhard Lischka, a member of the German Bundestag (Congress) and part of the ruling coalition under Prime Minister Andrea Merkel, who sits on the parliament’s’ intelligence oversight committee, told the Associated Press.
A person described by the AP as a “senior European intelligence official” said his country might stop sharing intelligence information with the U.S. if it is confirmed Trump shared classified information with the Russians. He said doing that “could be a risk for our sources.”
Lischka added that currently the U.S. – and Trump – have access to “exclusive and highly sensitive information including in the area of combating terrorism”
If the American president “passes this information to other governments at will,” added Lischka, “then Trump becomes a security risk for the entire western world.”
Germany isn’t the only American ally now looking at whether or not Trump can be trusted with sensitive intelligence.
“The fact the information reportedly went to Russia during investigations into alleged links between Mr. Trump’s campaign team and the Kremlin has generated alarm,” as well as Moscow’s ties with Iran, China and the Syrian government,” reports The Independent from the U.K.
The Independent noted that Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Trump’s actions sent a “troubling signal” to American partners around the world. He warned that if in fact the information was shared without the knowledge of the ally who provided it (Israel in this case), other countries may not share intelligence in the future.
“Regrettably,” added McCain, “the time President Trump spent sharing sensitive information with the Russians was time he did not spend focusing on Russia’s aggressive behaviour, including its interference in American and European elects, its illegal invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea; its other destabilising activit4s across Europe, and the slaughter of innocent civilians and targeting of hospitals in Syria.”
Trump has in the past shaken the confidence of America’s longtime loyal allies around the world, as he did during the campaign when he questioned the usefulness of NATO, but until now he had not impacted the secretive communications among intelligence agencies.
Trump’s dangerous behavior is not just a problem for America – for generations leader of the free world – it is also a threat to other democratic countries all over the globe who have trusted American integrity since the end of World War II.
Germany has the most powerful economy in Europe and has a geographical position that puts it on Russia’s doorstep, which has long made it a flashpoint for problems. Relations with Germany have already been shaken after Merkel’s visit to Washington, where Trump appeared to refuse to shake her hand.
If America’s staunchest friends around the world lose confidence because of Trump, that would play into the hands of Russia, at a time President Putin has shown he is happy to sew seeds of discontent among the longtime allies.