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News Wednesday, May 17 2017

Editorials Agree: Donald Trump Can't Be Trusted With Classified Information

May 17, 2017

Donald Trump is being bombarded by another round of scathing editorials from across the country, this time questioning his judgement and fitness to serve which has now put our national security at risk. Below is a sampling of editorials that Americans across the country are reading today:

The New York Times Editorial: Can Donald Trump Be Trusted With State Secrets?

  • “Mr. Trump created this latest crisis during an immature boast about himself. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” he is reported to have said, before telling Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, about his knowledge of an ISIS plot. After his Russian guests left the Oval Office, White House officials struggled to limit the damage by contacting the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency and trying to scrub transcripts from the meeting. The news media has withheld the most sensitive details of what Mr. Trump told the Russians. Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, mounted an odd and hairsplitting defense, saying that Mr. Trump’s disclosure was “wholly appropriate” while acknowledging that Mr. Trump didn’t know the source of the information and had blurted it out at the spur of the moment.”

Wall Street Journal Editorial: Loose lips sink presidencies

  • “The portrait of an inexperienced, impulsive chief who might spill secrets to an overseas foe is one to which Mr. Trump has too often contributed. It was political mismanagement even to hold the Russian meeting, especially the day after he fired FBI Director James Comey amid the investigation of the Trump campaign’s alleged Russian connection. This eruption shows why a President’s credibility is so important. If people don’t believe Mr. Trump’s words or trust his judgment, they won’t give him the benefit of the doubt or be responsive if he asks for support. Last week the White House spent two days attributing Mr. Comey’s firing to a Justice Department recommendation, only for Mr. Trump to insist in a TV interview that the pink slip came ‘regardless of recommendation.'”

Washington Post Editorial: Trump can’t be trusted with sensitive information — and now the world knows

  • “The consequences of the president’s lapse could be far-reaching. In addition to disrupting a vital flow of intelligence and possibly endangering agents on the ground, Mr. Trump has let the world know that he and his administration cannot be trusted with sensitive information. Governments that share their secrets with the CIA, from Britain to Israel to Australia, may feel compelled to recalibrate their cooperation. Those that don’t have a cooperative relationship, such as Russia and China, will try to use their access to Mr. Trump to extract more indiscretions. The administration’s attempts to defend the leak only underlined the continuing chaos in the White House.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial: Amateur hour at the White House

  • “The Russians have found a true friend in the Oval Office. Someone who would blithely share some of the most sensitive intelligence in America’s possession regarding Islamic State terrorist plots. Someone who won’t allow American journalists to cover a meeting with top Russian diplomats but who would grant Russia’s government news agency exclusive coverage. Donald Trump was willing to share top secret information not just to Russia’s foreign minister but to an ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, believed by the United States to have links to Russian spies. That’s what true friends do.”

Sacramento Bee Editorial: Trump’s loose lips raise basic question: What’s the GOP’s tipping point?

  • “When does President Donald Trump’s inexperience and incompetence become a clear and present danger to America’s national security? That fraught question has to be asked after what may be the most alarming episode yet. As first reported by The Washington Post, Trump shared highly classified information with top Russian officials about a threat by the Islamic State to use laptop computers to blow up civilian airliners – details we hadn’t even told our allies. So now a dangerous terrorist group knows it has a spy in its highest circles. Allies may not be so willing to share intelligence. The New York Times reported that the information in question came from Israel, a crucial U.S. partner in the Middle East that Trump will visit Monday on his first foreign trip as president.”

The Modesto Bee Editorial: Trump’s brags are dangerous to America

  • “Trump is a braggart, pure and simple. He brags (and exaggerates) about his electoral victory. He brags (and exaggerates) about his popularity. He brags (and exaggerates) about his business acumen, the elegance of his properties and his sexual conquests. Of course he was bragging to two top Russian officials last week. It’s what he does. Spies and moles hide their nefarious deeds; braggarts broadcast their prowess to the world. Trump’s skills are those of a front man; a salesman trying to instill confidence in a client. But Russia is not a client or a partner. By bragging in a setting from which American media was barred but Russian media was welcomed, Trump proved himself incredibly reckless and entirely unreliable. In this case, he was a detriment to the conduct of our nation’s foreign policy and the world’s security.”

Kansas City Star Editorial: Giving Trump a chance is harder every day

  • “There is little that’s conservative about this president, and we ask: Much as you love how crazy he drives not just liberals, but the entirety of the conservative intelligentsia, is making all the right people angry really enough to justify support for the reckless way he’s risked our national security by revealing highly classified information about the Islamic State to the Russians, in an Oval Office meeting covered only by TASS?”

Minneapolis Star Tribune Editorial: Trump White House enters a new state of denial

  • “The meeting itself was an oddity. The U.S. has imposed sanctions against Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine and forced annexation of Crimea. American intelligence agencies are uniform in their conclusion that Russians hacked the U.S. election. The list of Russian aggression is long and growing. Trump’s response? Invite the Russians into the Oval Office, grinning and shaking hands and offering up choice bits of intel. If that’s not chilling enough, there is the distinct possibility the Russians may have a complete transcript of what Trump said, since their state-owned news agency, Tass, was allowed to remain in the room when U.S. news media was barred.”

News-Times Editorial: Trump will spill the beans sooner or later

  • “Trump: Yeah, sure I was thinking about the Russia investigation. I’ve been thinking of firing Comey since the beginning. He’s a disaster. Trump can’t help himself. Lies seem to bore him, even when told in his defense. They’re too much trouble. And, besides, he’s always gotten his way by speaking his and everyone else’s mind. His impulse to share his unfiltered thoughts is precisely what makes him both entertaining and a terrible president.”

Santa Rosa Press-Democrat Editorial: Is Trump’s mouth becoming his and the nation’s worst enemy?

  • “We don’t know whether Trump truly disclosed highly sensitive information in a moment of intemperate candor with the Russians. But given the president’s performance to date, it certainly rings true. And for the nation as a whole, that ringing should sound like an alarm. The president’s poor judgment and lack of self-control is putting people at risk.”

Virginian-Pilot Editorial: What nation will trust us with a president who offers no stability or restraint?

  • “Trump’s actions are well outside the bounds of propriety when it comes to the handling of classified information. Indeed, they represent the type of thoughtless, haphazard chaos that has come to define this White House and its operations. By all accounts, Trump didn’t speak to any intelligence officials before revealing the information to the Russians, and The Post reported that a White House aide made hurried calls to the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency shortly after the meeting adjourned. Nor did the president clear his decision with the foreign ally, potentially compromising that intelligence-sharing relationship and harming the United States’ fight to defeat the Islamic State. It could even threaten the lives of assets in Syria who are trying to obtain valuable intelligence on this nation’s behalf. These are not small matters. They in fact have enormous, wide-reaching implications.”

Concord Monitor Editorial: When will the minions wake up?

  • “President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian officials last week, the Washington Post reported on Monday. His decision wasn’t illegal – the president can declassify anything he wants – but it was reckless. The information about the Islamic State was reportedly provided by Israel and was so sensitive that it wasn’t even passed on to American allies, which Russia certainly isn’t, or widely circulated within the U.S. government. Trump’s latest stumble has jeopardized intelligence cooperation not only with Israel and other partners in the Middle East but with all of the nation’s allies. At least one European intelligence official told the Associated Press on Tuesday that his country might stop sharing intelligence information with the U.S.”

Star-Ledger Editorial: The national security threat is a child Donald Trump

  • “That inability to anticipate how he will be perceived, or what others might say or do, is exactly why Trump cannot be trusted with classified intelligence in the first place. It’s why his communications staff is so desperate to take his phone away. In this case, though, his incompetence won’t just cost jobs or reputations, or what little might remain of White House credibility. It could actually cost lives.”

Baltimore Sun Editorial: Trump’s loose lips

  • “And it would be truly laughable, except that sharing classified information is rather a serious business, particularly if it compromises our relationship with another country that provided the secrets — apparently related to the potential terrorist threat posed by laptops taken on commercial flights — exposing that country to blowback or even putting operatives in peril. Oh, and let’s not forget that the first instinct of the Trump White House was to prevaricate and deny that “intelligence sources or methods” or “military operations” were discussed as National Security adviser H.R. McMaster did to reporters when the Post’s article claimed nothing of the kind.”

Denver Post Editorial: Someone should tell President Trump: Loose lips sink ships

  • “For a man who wanted to lock up Hillary Clinton for her reckless handling of State Department materials, President Donald Trump seems remarkably unaware of the dangers of leaking highly classified information to known adversaries. Given that the president frequently blames his bad luck on staffers talking to reporters without permission, who can blame anyone for marveling at Trump’s leaking — to the Russians — information so classified that just mentioning it risks outing a key ally in our fight against the Islamic State? It’s as if the president of the United States of America doesn’t remember classic national security wisdom: “Loose lips sink ships.”

York Dispatch Editorial: An American tragedy

  • “New damning revelations are coming daily, sometimes hourly. The latest example is the allegation that Trump shared classified secrets about Islamic State militants to Russian officials last week during a closed-door meeting, jeopardizing the source of the intelligence and betraying the ally that shared it with U.S. intelligence. The information was “considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government,” according to The Washington Post, which broke the story Tuesday. Where is the outrage among Republicans? Where is the full-throated demand for answers? Except for a few, most Republicans are either silent or embarrassingly timid.”

Los Angeles Times Editorial: Trump can share all the intel he wants. That doesn’t mean it’s not bone-headed and hypocritical

  • “There’s also reason to be concerned that the president is not doing the work necessary to understand the complicated subjects that face him. Perhaps he blurted out sensitive national security secrets to the Russian ambassador because he honestly didn’t know any better — because he’s not doing his homework. Since Trump took office, there have been repeated stories suggesting that he is unwilling to read long, complicated briefing papers and that he wants his information short, simple and on a single page. Maybe that approach works in reality television or in the hotel business, but it’s not what most Americans expect of a president of the United States.”

Charlotte Observer Editorial: Is Donald Trump dangerous enough yet, Republicans?

  • “This is beyond coddling a president who will sign off on the GOP agenda in Congress. It’s beyond having someone simpleminded enough to manipulate in the White House. This is about a president who understands little about the basic things a president should know – policy and diplomacy. Worse, he cares little about the consequences of his words and, in this case, didn’t grasp what those consequences are. Think about it – the president of the United States gave secrets to the Russian government because he didn’t know better.”


Published: May 17, 2017

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