On October 7, Hamas launched a brutal, horrific attack against civilians in Israel. While there is a very real history that has led up to this, there is no justification for it. Even in a state of war, civilians must be protected. This horror raises a couple of important questions.
First, did Hamas somehow get inside information about Israel’s defenses that helped them pull this off? Second, how might this play out, how might it be resolved, and how can America and the world avoid the mistakes from previous but similar situations?
Pondering these questions on October 7, I tweeted:
“Hamas apparently knew how to get around Israel’s Iron Dome defenses. They probably learned this from Iran. Iran almost certainly got the information from Russia. And who gave it to Russia? Sure looks like it was Donald Trump, at the request of Putin.”
At the end of the tweet I included a link to a 2017 Washington Post article titled “Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador,” although, because Musk has eliminated headlines from news stories, the article just looked like a picture of Trump with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister yucking it up.
By October 9, I discovered that my little speculative tweet had caused Republicans on Twitter/X to totally lose their minds.
The tweet had been viewed several million times and produced thousands of responses, the vast majority calling me obscenities and claiming that Trump would never share classified information with anybody because he was such a patriot and anybody who would wonder out loud about him passing out secrets isn’t.
The Washington Post article I included with my tweet was pretty unambiguous. Reporters Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe wrote:
“President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State. The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.”
While nobody knew then, and nobody but Trump and the Russians know now, exactly what top-secret information we got from Israel that was shared with the Russians in that meeting, it was clearly a shocking revelation that caught our and Israel’s intelligence communities by surprise.
As noted in that Washington Post article:
“‘This is code-word information,’ said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump ‘revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.’”
The Post reporters also note that, before the door was closed, apparently a Trump staffer overheard him tell the Russians:
“I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day.”
Eight days before Trump was inaugurated as president, a Hebrew language Israeli newspaper with inside information from Israeli intelligence agencies was quoted by the Times of Israel:
“U.S. intelligence officials have warned their Israeli counterparts that President-elect Donald Trump’s ties to Russia could pose a security threat, since information passed on to his administration may reach Moscow and from there be leaked to Iran. During a recent meeting between US and Israeli intelligence staff, the Americans also assessed that Russia has some kind of leverage over Trump, but did not go into details, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper claimed, citing unidentified Israeli officials who were present at the session.”
So, whether Trump screwed Israel and the US because Putin told him to, or just to feed his own massively insecure ego, and whether it specifically led to this Hamas raid or simply did other damage to Israeli and American security, here we are.
And, as we learned recently when it came out that Trump shared top-secret info about our submarine fleet with an Australian businessman, he has a history of doing exactly this sort of thing.
We also do not know if that particular intel from 2017 had to do with Iron Dome or Israeli security or not, the article suggests it might have involved using a laptop to take down a plane.
It is important to note, though, that it was only one of literally dozens of secret, private meetings Trump had with Russian officials, Russian-aligned people at the White House and Mar-a-Largo, and at least 19 phone calls with Putin, for many of which there are no existing records.
Newsweek has now published an article about this concern that Trump played a role in the Hamas attack as well, and I’ve been joined in my speculation by several others. The Newsweek article, headlined “Donald Trump’s Israel Intel Leak Under Scrutiny After Hamas Attack,” lays it out rather starkly:
“Donald Trump’s sharing of alleged classified intelligence to Russian officials in the White House has come under scrutiny amid a large-scale attack by the Hamas Islamist military group against Israel. In May 2017, the former president defended his actions after he was found to have discussed sensitive details about an alleged Islamic State (ISIS) plot with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. Trump said he had an absolute right to do so. The intel was said to have been provided to the U.S. from Israel. It was suggested at the time that the former president’s handing over sensitive information from Israel could have damaged the relationship between the two countries. It also could have raised the possibility that the details could be passed from Russia to Iran, the Gulf nation that is a fierce adversary of Israel and has long supported Hamas.”
It goes on to quote me, Allison Gill, Mike Jollett, and Meidas Touch. Even Donald Trump’s neice, Mary Trump, tweeted:
“This maniac likely gave Putin (who gave Iran, who gave Hamas) Israel’s national security secrets… Plus, he divulged highly classified information about our nuclear subs to an Australian cardboard guy. Why is he still allowed to roam free?”
But, again, all this is speculation. What we do know for sure, is that on at least one occasion in the first months of his presidency Trump gave information to the Russians that would have landed any other American in prison. As the Post noted:
“For almost anyone in government, discussing such matters with an adversary would be illegal.”
And let there be no doubt that the Russians Trump shared that information with are allies of Hamas, even if that was not the specific time and information that led to this attack.
A year ago last month, as the Times of Israel noted, the politburo chief of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, met with Trump’s Oval Office buddy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Joining them were the number two man in the Hamas Politburo, Saleh Al-Arouri, and Moussa Abu Marzouk and Maher Salah, the two most senior members of Hamas’s political wing.
That meeting was followed up this March with confirmation that Hamas has been regularly meeting with Russia. As Al-Monitor, a newspaper that covers Middle Eastern politics, noted:
“Hamas officials have made several visits to the Russian capital, most recently in September of last year.”
Whether any of this will end up sticking to Trump is anybody’s guess, but if the thousands of hysterical replies to my tweet are any indication, the GOP is truly freaked out about the possibility. This might turn out to be more politically deadly to him than rape, paying off porn stars, or stealing classified information by the box-load.
Republican politicians have even gone so far as to nakedly lie to the American people about the horrors in Israel, suggesting that the deal President Biden worked out with Iran was used to fund this attack. But it is not true: of the $6 billion in oil money South Korea was to pay to Iran – but was frozen by international sanctions – not one single penny has yet to be distributed.
That has not stopped the GOP from lying about it incessantly; it got so bad that a Fox “News” host had to intervene and correct a Republican politician, pointing out that no money has changed hands. DeSantis repeated the lie on Morning Joe.
Given how frantically Republicans in the Senate are trying to pin liability for the massacre in Israel on Biden, it sure seems that somebody might be trying to cover something up. Could this have something to do with the secret documents that Donald Trump hand-delivered to Rand Paul, and he then personally transported to Moscow to give to Putin’s intelligence agents?
Jim Jordan and James Comer are fond of saying, “Where there’s smoke there’s fire.” This “smoke” demands an investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee, at the very least. And, hopefully, the FBI is all over it, particularly given the horror of these attacks.
But to circle back to the second question, media pundits and even the government of Israel have been using 9/11 as an analogy to the events of this past weekend. Both were clearly major intelligence failures, but George W. Bush survived his because Democrats chose not to politicize it.
After all, a full month earlier on August 6th, 2001 the CIA was so alarmed that they flew an agent all the way down to Crawford, Texas in a private jet just to hand-deliver a memo to Bush that was titled:
“Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”
Bush’s response to the possibility of Washington DC being a target was to change his plans and take the longest vacation in the history of the presidency; he went from Crawford, Texas to Florida, a state run by his brother, where Jeb declared a state of emergency on August 24. George stayed there, refusing to return to DC until after the attacks were over.
Press reports today suggest that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received similar warnings from multiple countries in the region prior to the recent attacks and, like Bush, chose to ignore them. But Israeli politicians are often not as circumspect as America’s Democrats, so it is possible that what rolled off Bush’s back will stick to Netanyahu.
While it is a certainty that Netanyahu will be brutal and unsparing in his retaliation, “vengeance” was the word he used yesterday, against Hamas and Gaza, the situation was, in fact, both untenable and unsustainable and it did not take a prophet to predict there would be a blow-up one day.
There is a huge difference in meaning, however, between the words “predictable” and “justified.” Nothing can justify the level of terror and brutality Hamas inflicted on Israeli citizens this weekend.
And Hamas, with their commitment to destroying Israel and killing Jews, cannot be an honest broker for any sort of peace in that region; the organization and its leadership must be destroyed. They are not reformable, like the terrorist Irish Republican Army was back in the day.
Similarly, Iran’s and Russia’s support for Hamas must be cut off. As Iran shows in its attacks on its own citizens, and Russia shows in the brutality of its daily terror attacks against Ukraine, neither are behaving like civilized members of the modern world.
Yet here in America, MAGA Republicans continue to do everything they can to support Iran’s number-one sponsor in the world: Russia.
Tommy Tuberville is blocking military promotions so we have no commander for our fleet in the region because he doesn’t want raped women serving in our military to get abortions; Rand Paul has blocked the appointment of our ambassador to Israel because Covid, vaccine, conspiracy; the Putin caucus in the House is trying to shut down our government and thus cut aid to Ukraine, which will strengthen Russia and reward their help to Iran and Hamas.
Our hearts break for the missing and captive Israelis, Americans, and others who are the victims of this medieval Hamas attack. It is hard to imagine anything more horrific.
The civilized world must stand united against terrorism, wherever it is practiced.
Evan Vucci (AP), Jae C. Hong (AP), and Mikhail Klimentyev and Russian Foreign Ministry (via AP)
© Thom Hartmann, used with permission. Originally published on The Hartmann Report as Did Hamas Somehow Get Inside Information About Israel’s Defenses from a Trump Leak?
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