Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Hill — Ryan tweet on classified info resurfaces after bombshell Trump report

“The nation's capital is engulfed in a debate about President Trump's reported decision to leak highly classified information to top Russian diplomats – but legal analysts and secrecy experts said Monday that American presidents have broad authority to disclose classified information, making them virtually immune from prosecution.

“Every other government employee with a clearance could face criminal charges for disclosing classified information without prior permission. But the commander in chief has the power to unilaterally disclose any material – even the most secret intelligence – without going through any kind of formal process.

Still, Trump's decision to share such sensitive information last week in a White House meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak – first reported by the Washington Post – has potentially serious consequences.

“Perhaps most serious, said Mark Zaid, an attorney specializing in national security matters, is the prospect that allies would lose their trust in Washington's ability to keep secrets and no longer share valuable intelligence with their American counterparts.

“‘If true,’ tweeted Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, ‘this is a slap in the face to the intel community. Risking sources & methods is inexcusable, particularly with the Russians,’ “ according to USA Today.

Moreover, It’s hard to establish trust in President Donald Trump, the Republican Party, and in particular House Speaker Paul Ryan, when their clear duplicitousness leads to suspicion that things aren’t just what they say they are.

Ryan tweeted during the 2016 presidential campaign: "Individuals who are careless with classified information should be denied further access to such info." He was attacking former Secretary of State and candidate Hillary Clinton's handling of sensitive information in her personal emails. Now we have silence from Speaker Ryan.

President Trump, in his campaign, energized his audiences with the clarion call "lock her up." Trump's supporters were spreading the social meme, "Orange is the New Black" derived from Piper Kerman's memoir, “Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison.” Duplicitous as well, Trump’s supporters are now defending him.

And now we have the President of the United States accused of revealing highly classified information to the Russian Ambassador and Foreign Minister in the Oval Office. Its legality is hard to believe. Does this mean it’s legal for a president to commit treason? If it is legal for the President of the United States to divulge classified information, that needs to change posthaste.

Ryan tweet on classified info resurfaces after bombshell Trump report

By Paulina Firozi