To Gotcha or Not to Gotcha, that is never the question for the Washington Post -- or, for that matter, those "current and former U.S. officials" hiding in anonymity to leak what they allege are specifics of an Oval Office meeting between President Trump and the Russian foreign minister and ambassador.
On second thought, I must qualify: To Gotcha-Trump or Not to Gotcha-Trump is never the Post's question. This is not across-the-board journalism, it's information warfare. If that were not the case, to take a few examples, Post readers might well have have been treated to some of these headlines:
"Obama reveals secret intelligence to Iranians"
Or, going back a few years:
"Clinton reveals secret intelligence to Chinese"
Or, from breaking history:
"FDR's Top Aide reveals secret counterintelligence to Soviets"
"Hillary's unsecured server reveals secret intelligence to whoever"
Nope, we just get:
"Trump reveals secret intelligence to Russians"
What was this "secret intelligence" Trump revealed? Israel's base of operations for a surprise attack on Iran (Obama)? Advanced military technology galore (Clinton)? FBI surveillance of Soviet atomic espionage (Harry Hopkins)?
Hardly. It was the name of a city.
The Post boils down Trump's "disclosures" in paragraph fifteen. "The threat" under discussion is laptop computer bombs.
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not disclose the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State's territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.
The Post continued:
The identification of the location was seen as particularly problematic, officials said, because Russia could use that detail to help identify the U.S. ally or intelligence capability involved.
Hang on a sec. Even according to the Post, Trump "did not disclose the specific intelligence gathering method." Does the name of this city automatically reveal to the Russians the identity of the "U.S. intelligence partner" operating there? I don't know the answer to that question. However, no one has accused Trump of mentioning a third party intelligence service. Thus, it seems reasonable to wonder whether it is the Post story itself, not Trump, that has just alerted the Russians, along with the rest of the world, that this third party "intelligence partner" is even operating in City X.
Whether such a "revelation" is so earth-shattering in the first place is also an open question. However. would the Post and its secret sources care if they, not Trump, were its source? I think not. The whole story has an ersatz quality. Here's a quotation (anonymous, natch) that almost comes across as it if were spoken in a stage whisper: "If that partner learned we'd given this to Russia without their knowledge or asking first, that is a blow to that relationship."
If "that partner" didn't know before, it does now!
And therein, it sure seems, lies the mission: sabotaging Trump. Undressing him before the Russians, frosting our intelligence partners, condemning Trump to the American people for a supposed gaffe or breach that, surely as described, is insignificant next to what presidential predecessors have done without media question, and, when it comes to Bill Clinton with China, and Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton with Skolkovo, on a scale that is almost incomprehensible. To be sure, it's worth noting that to the Post and its "officials," the alleged Trump gaffe itself, ostensibly the driver of the story, doesn't come across as Red Alert stuff.
"Officials expressed concern..." "Exposure ... could hinder..." "It's all kind of shocking..."
Kind of? Not exactly crisis talk.
Which is not to say that the story doesn't offer plenty of opportunties to vent. For example: "Trump seems to be very reckless and doesn't grasp the gravity of the things he's dealing with [doesn't take my advice], especially when it comes to intelligence and national security [the way I view the world]. And it's all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia."
The problem he has with Russia ...? How long does this go on? I know: until we get a proper investigation of Russian influence on the Trump and Clinton campaigns, including Podesta/Joule/Clinton/Skolkovo/Uranium One/the Illegals, which should do for starters. And speaking of Russia, will the Washington Post ever investigate the credible claims of former DCPD homicide detective Rod Wheeler, now a private investigator hired by Seth Rich's family, which indicate that murdered DNC official Rich was a DNC source for Wikileaks? How about calling for the evidence on Seth Rich's computer? Hah.
No, the Post is too busy venting about Trump and Russia.
"Everyone knows this stream is very sensitive, and the idea of sharing it at this level of granularity with the Russians is troubling," said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official who also worked closely with members of the Trump national security team.
I would like to know: "Troubling" to whom? To this former CT official? Other like-minded "professionals"? "Experts"? The Swamp? If Trump is making a mistake in allegedly sharing with the Russians the name of a city in ISIS-held territory, he is following the footsteps of his predecessors, almost every one of whom has made nothing but mistakes in dealing with the Russians.
If Trump, the duly elected president, seeks to create a relationship with Russia predicated on sharing such information about ISIS's bomb-making capacity, which he, as president, is lawfully permitted to share, it is not the place, constitutional or otherwise, of these "officials" to step in anonymously and mess it up -- except, that is, out of their fealty to the Swamp, which is where Washington loyalty lreally lies.
Me, I don't trust the Russians a bit, and wouldn't have invited them into the Oval Office in the first place. I would assume they already know about ISIS's laptop bomb-making capability, are onto all intelligence operations in City X -- and may well have come up with the laptop bomb technology themselves and passed it along to ISIS. Heck, if they're anywhere near as good as they used to be, they are probably controlling, or, at least, inside all of the relevant intelligence organizations.
Even more alarming than that, though, is the Swamp campaign of presidential sabotage at home, with ginned-up stories designed to destablize the Trump White House. Remember, they start from within. Indeed, the lone source named by Post is Thomas P. Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, formerly an advisor to Bush 43 and late of the internationalist/globalist Atlantic Council. It is Bossert who thought it was a good idea to call up the directors of the CIA and the NSA, and the rest is Swamp History.
It is up to Trump to regain control of his administration -- clearly, the hardest task of his presidency.
I asked a bona fide Russian intelligence expert what Trump should do. His answer was definite: Trump should polygraph everyone at that small meeting with the Russians; get their phone and computer records from the FBI and NSA (probably a lost cause); and then watch their reactions.
He recalled a time when President Reagan wanted to polygraph the State Department and George Shultz threatened to resign.
"Reagan should have called his bluff," he said. "If Trump doesn't get his staff under control and get rid of the Obama holdovers and treacherous RINOs (plus liberal Generals, beginning with Mattis), he's history."