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Friday, 19 May 2017 01:00

Friday Mailbag: Spilled Beans, Monochrome Faces and Renegade Readers


The news cycle this week felt like a cyclone, with never-ending scoops tossed at unsuspecting readers from multiple outlets at all hours. The first of these bombshells landed in the early evening on Monday from The Washington Post, which reported that President Trump had revealed highly classified intelligence to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador.

Moreover, the story noted, the intelligence was not Trump’s to provide: It had been given to the United States by an intelligence-sharing partner that stipulated the information must not be shared with others, let alone an adversary.

The Post, however, did not share the details of the intelligence because officials warned this could help Russia identify the ally involved. When The Times confirmed the story soon after, it too left out the name of the country, saying only that it was “Middle Eastern.”

The following morning, Michael Barbaro, the host of the Times podcast “The Daily,” asked Matthew Rosenberg, the story’s lead reporter, which ally shared the intelligence.

“We’re not saying,” Rosenberg said.

“For a set of editorial or national security reasons?” Barbaro asked.

“Yes, it’s a little tricky,” Rosenberg said. “American intelligence officials have asked that we not do this, saying that we could literally destroy the intelligence gathering and put lives in danger.

Read more at NYTimes

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