White House security leak?

A White House Security Office employee, Tricia Newbold, has testified to a US Congressional committee that the Trump administration has overturned the decision to refuse top secret security clearance to certain individuals in at least twenty-five cases. Apparently this number includes some Trump family members. These clearances would only have been refused if there were considerable doubts about the trustworthiness of these individuals. All of these individuals will now have access to top secret intelligence reports. Ms Newbold also testified that the Trump administration was misusing the system of interim clearances to allow doubtful individuals temporary access to top secret material. 

The good news is that there should be a limited risk to agents on the ground as all intelligence agencies ensure that finished intelligence material is carefully processed so that sources remain anonymous. That having been said, if the contents of finished material is leaked, it does not take hostile services long to work out where the sources of US intelligence may be. Russia and Israel are thought to be the most likely beneficiaries of leaked intelligence from the Trump administration, but countries such as China may also find a way in. These actions represent an extremely serious threat to intelligence security in the United States.

And it may not be only US intelligence sources at risk. Allied services also pass top secret intelligence reports to the United States. President Trump has already come under criticism for his clumsy handling of such intelligence: in 2017, Trump carelessly revealed top secret Israeli intelligence from Syria during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov. Trump even named the city where that was the source of the Israeli intelligence. Protection of allied agencies’ reports is an absolutely paramount consideration in the intelligence world. No other US President has ever made such a blunder and this incident led a senior CIA official to describeTrump to journalists as : “Fucking unbelievable.”

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