Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Israel Flashes Its Pistol in Deep State Rumble with Trump

The latest battle being fought in the deep state war against Trump is Israeli led. (See the NYT frontpager "Trump Revealed Highly Classified Intelligence to Russia, in Break With Ally, Officials Say" by Matthew Rosenberg and Eric Schmitt.)

"[A] current and a former American government official said Monday" that Trump revealed to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak during their White House meeting the existence of a plot by the Islamic State. The plot was discovered thanks to the intelligence work of a "Middle Eastern ally" who doesn't want the sources and methods of its intelligence gathering revealed:
In fact, the ally has repeatedly warned American officials that it would cut off access to such sensitive information if it were shared too widely, the former official said. In this case, the fear is that Russia will be able to determine exactly how the information was collected and could disrupt the ally’s espionage efforts.
The plot had to do with Daesh smuggling bombs hidden in laptops onto airlines. Apparently Trump revealed the name of the city in ISIS-controlled territory where the intelligence originated. This knowledge by the Russians supposedly would allow them to compromise the intelligence network.

But this assumes that Russia has a reason to do so. The "Middle Eastern ally" is obviously Israel. Russia has a deep, sophisticated relationship with Israel. Israel can communicate its interests clearly to Russia. There is nothing here to think any significant intelligence breech has occurred.

What is happening here is Israel is communicating its displeasure with Trump the week before his visit there. According to Mark Landler in "Before Trump’s Visit to Israel, Small Issues Prove Thorniest" Netanyahu is losing patience with Trump's handling of the Western Wall and moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:
The White House ran into static with the Israelis on Monday on a series of small, but sensitive, diplomatic issues, ranging from the legal status of the Western Wall to President Trump’s repeated promise to move the American Embassy.
In a related matter, the political sensitivity of Jerusalem flared up after Mr. Netanyahu denied a report that he had privately urged Mr. Trump last February not to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. A Fox News correspondent, Conor Powell, wrote on Twitter, “Everyone I’ve spoken to in D.C. that has been briefed on #Jerusalem embassy move says #Netanyahu told #Trump not to move embassy at this time.”
Mr. Netanyahu’s office denounced the report as a “lie” and went so far as to release what it said were written reports, by an Israeli adviser, of the conversation between the prime minister and the president, when Mr. Netanyahu visited Washington in February. The Israelis said the prime minister told Mr. Trump that he favored moving the embassy.
Israel is showing Trump it can place its thumb on the deep-state scale whenever it wishes and that Trump, if he doesn't want to see more frontpage headlines about his colluding with the Russians, should fall into line.

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