TEL AVIV – U.S. intelligence officials warned their Israeli counterparts not to trust President-elect Donald Trump with intelligence secrets, citing alleged fears that Russia held blackmail information over Trump, according to a report today in Israel’s respected Yediot Ahronot daily newspaper.
The alleged blackmail information that U.S. officials reportedly warned Israel about seems to be in part referencing details contained in a debunked document of mysterious origin purporting to be an intelligence report alleging that Russia collected compromising videos and information on Trump.
In the report, investigative journalist Ronen Bergman writes of a meeting that took place “recently between Israeli and American intelligence officials (the date of the meeting is not mentioned to protect the sources of the report).”
During the meeting, according to the Israelis who participated in it, their American colleagues voiced despair over Trump’s election, as he often lashes out at the American intelligence community. The American officials also told the Israelis that the National Security Agency (NSA) had “highly credible information” that Russia’s intelligence agencies, the FSB and GRU, were responsible for hacking the Democratic Party (DNC) servers during the elections and leaking sensitive information to WikiLeaks, which hurt Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The American officials further added that they believed Russian President Vladimir Putin had “leverages of pressure” over Trump – but did not elaborate. They were apparently referring to what was published Wednesday about embarrassing information collected by the Russian intelligence in a bid to blackmail the president-elect.
The Americans implied that their Israeli colleagues should “be careful” as of January 20, Trump’s inauguration date, when transferring intelligence information to the White House and to the National Security Council (NSC), which is subject to the president. According to the Israelis who were present in the meeting, the Americans recommended that until it is made clear that Trump is not inappropriately connected to Russia and is not being extorted – Israel should avoid revealing sensitive sources to administration officials for fear the information would reach the Iranians.
BuzzFeed on Tuesday published the un-redacted document claiming Russia had collected blackmail information on Trump, including videos of the president-elect in compromising positions.
“The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors,” a BuzzFeed sub-headline cautioned.
Contacted by Breitbart Jerusalem, Bergman said that according to his sources, the meeting between U.S. and Israeli officials took place before the publication of the dossier on Tuesday and that the dossier wasn’t specifically mentioned to the Israelis, only the charge that Russian President Vladimir Putin has some sort of unspecified “leverage” over Trump.
Bergman said that after the dossier was published, he contacted his sources again and they told him that they themselves were speculating that the “leverage” claim could have in part referred to the dossier. Bergman is the author of a forthcoming book on the history of the Mossad set to be published later this year by Random House.
BuzzFeed’s publication of the document prompted a flurry of news media reports drawing attention to the salacious and unproven details. CNN fanned the flames by reporting that “classified documents” presented to President Obama and Trump included “allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information” on Trump, the news network claimed, citing “multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings.”
The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday reported the author of the dossier was Christopher Steele, who serves as a director at the London-based Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd., which has refused to comment on the reports of the document’s origin.
In October, Mother Jones reported on the contents of the dossier, writing the information was produced by a former Western intelligence officer who was assigned to the task for the purpose of an “opposition research project originally financed by a Republican client critical of the celebrity mogul.”
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a statement yesterday that he had called Trump that day to tell him that the intelligence community “has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.”