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Concern in Israel over intelligence leaks

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Israeli security figures have reacted angrily after it was revealed that an agent’s life may be at risk due to intelligence information leaked by the US President to the Russian Foreign Minister.

President Donald Trump shared classified information gathered by Israel with Sergei Lavrov and the Russian Ambassador to Washington Sergey I. Kislyak in an Oval Office meeting last week.

Former Mossad chief Danny Yatom said: “We need to punish the Americans, and it’s possible, in order to ensure Trump does not succumb to temptation, we need to refrain from giving him information, or give him partial information only, so he will not be able to pass it on to a third party.”

Another former head of the Israeli secret service, Shabtai Shavit, said: “If tomorrow I were asked to pass information to the CIA, I would do everything I could to not pass it to them. Or I would first protect myself and only then give it, and what I’d give would be totally neutered. If some smart guy decides that he’s allowed to leak information, then your partners in cooperation will be fewer or just won’t be at all.”

However, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said:  “The security relations between Israel and its greatest ally, the United States, are deep, significant and unprecedented in their scope and their contribution to our strength. That is how it always was and how it always will be.”

The information revealed by Trump is believed to be related to plans by ISIS to carry out a terror attack on an aeroplane bound for the US using an explosive device concealed within a laptop that is undetectable by security checks.

There have been high-level talks between Israel and the US since the leak emerged. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with President Trump for 20 minutes two days ago, although officials say the call only related to Trump’s visit to Israel next week.

Roni Daniel reported on Channel Two News that Director of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Hertzi Halevy was also talking with US officials. However, it was emphasised that these talks had been scheduled in advance and were unrelated to the leak controversy.

It is not clear yet whether the source of the information leaked by Trump was human intelligence or signals intelligence. The former would be connected to Mossad and very serious for the agent involved, while signals intelligence would be less serious and connected to military intelligence.