A claim by the Washington Post that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the United States that compromised a third country source inside ISIS has touched off a firestorm. Trump administration officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, denied that such a thing ever took place.

The Washington Post says that Trump boasted of secret intelligence

The Post story paints a disturbing story of a president who boasted to Russian officials about secret intelligence that many have assumed came from a human intelligence asset from a third country inside the Islamic State.

The account suggested that Trump revealed this information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador without permission from the third country. He gave Russians more information than was given to American allies.

Trump administration officials deny

The Trump officials who were at the meeting deny that the president compromised intelligence information to the Russians. McMaster, a man with a reputation for complete honesty, declared to the media, “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”

He later declared that the entire story was “false.” Subjects that were discussed at the meeting including a threat to aviation from ISIS involving explosive-laden laptops, which has led to a ban on such devices for particular airliner flights

Who is telling the truth?

The Washington Post story is based on unidentified sources, likely staff aides who were at the meeting.

The question arises that if the article is accurate, why would the public officials, including Tillerson and McMaster, who value their reputation deny that the incident took place? Is the story a matter of interpretation or parsing of words?

Or are some staff members in the White House deliberately trying to undermine the president by leaking false information to the media?

The president has made some enemies in the intelligence community and the FBI who might be motivated to retaliate against him. Neither Tillerson nor McMaster was contacted by Post before their story went to press.

The idea that the president would burble secret intelligence to Russian officials ties into the image of Trump, well deserved, as an impulsive man who does and says things without thinking through the consequences.

Trump is known to favor friendly ties with Russia in the war on terror., On the other hand, it has also been noted that the media has often gone beyond the boundaries of fair and balanced coverage of the president. Thus whether one believes that story or the administration denials of the same will largely depend on how one feels about the president.