Trump Release of Classified Information

More from this show

President Trump has revealed that he released classified information to Russian officials when they met with him in the White House. The president’s security advisor says that the president’s decision to reveal the information was “wholly appropriate.” Philip Jones, a dean and professor of the College of Security and Intelligence at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, will talk about what Trump did and possible implications.

TED SIMONS: COMING UP NEXT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON," WHAT DID PRESIDENT TRUMP DISCLOSE TO RUSSIAN OFFICIALS. AND TEMPE'S CAR PROJECT. AND RESIDENTS OFFERING A PROPOSED INTERSTATE THAT WILL RUN RIGHT THROUGH THEIR TOWN. THOSE STORIES NEXT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON."

TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING, WELCOME TO "ARIZONA HORIZON." I'M TED SIMONS. PRESIDENT TRUMP'S REPORTED DISCLOSURE OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION IN A MEETING WITH THE RUSSIANS RAISE CONCERNS. THE SECURITY ADVISOR SAID WHAT THE PRESIDENT REVEALED WAS WHOLLY APPROPRIATE AND THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF DID NOT KNOW WHERE THE INFORMATION CAME FROM, WHICH RAISES YET MORE QUESTIONS. JOINING US NOW IS PHILLIP JONES, HE'S A DEAN AND PROFESSOR OF THE COLLEGE OF SECURITY INTELLIGENCE AT EMBRY-RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIVERSITY. GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN. WHAT HAS THE PRESIDENT REPORTED TO HAVE DONE?

PHILLIP JONES: THE PRESIDENT REPORTED TO HAVE PASSED ON INFORMATION ABOUT THE PLOT BY ICISS TO USE LAPTOP COMPUTERS TO BRING DOWN AIRCRAFT. AND EVIDENTLY IS THAT THE CURRENT THINKING IS THAT ISRAEL PASSED ON INFORMATION TO THE UNITED STATES.

TED SIMONS: THIS WAS REPORTED TO BE HIGHLY CLASSIFIED INFORMATION. HOW HIGHLY CLASSIFIED?

PHILLIP JONES: VERY HIGHLY CLASSIFIED. THAT WOULD BE A TOP SECRET CODE WORD AND COMPARTMENTALIZED.

TED SIMONS: HE IDENTIFIED THE CITY WHERE THE INTELLIGENCE WAS GATHERED WHICH WAS NOT REPORTED. ISRAEL MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN THE PARTNER HERE, BUT EVEN TO TALK ABOUT WHERE THE CITY IS, THAT'S SERIOUS STUFF.

PHILLIP JONES: THAT COULD BE -- THAT COULD BE, I'M SPECULATING HERE, THAT COULD BE JORDAN. BUT WHAT YOU PROBABLY HAVE TO REALIZE NOW IS THAT ISIS, WHOEVER WAS PICKING UP THIS PLOT, NOW KNOWS THAT THERE'S SOMEBODY INSIDE THAT IS REPORTING TO THE ISRAELIS.

TED SIMONS: NOT ONLY THAT, BUT THEY PROBABLY KNOW THE AREA IN THE CITY WHERE IT CAME FROM WAS REPORTED WAS PASSED ON TO THE RUSSIANS.

PHILLIP JONES: ABSOLUTELY.

TED SIMONS: WAS THIS JUST -- WAS THIS A MISTAKE? THE SCENE THAT WAS PLANNED -- THE REPORTS ARE THAT HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN -- THE PRESIDENT MIGHT HAVE BEEN BOASTING TO THE RUSSIANS -- I MEAN, THE FOREIGN MINISTER AND THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR. WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?

PHILLIP JONES: THEY'RE BOTH FORMER KGB, YOU KNOW? THE PRESIDENT IS IN CHARGE OF THE WHOLE SYSTEM OF CLASSIFICATION. IT'S REGARDED AS PART OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL POWERS. BUT WHEN THE U.S. GOVERNMENT FEELS IT WANTS TO DECLASSIFY INTELLIGENCE AND PASS IT ON, THERE'S A LOT OF PROTOCOLS. YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES THAT COLLECT FOR THE INFORMATION. AND WORK OUT HOW THAT'S GOING TO BE DISSEMINATED TO WHOM AND THERE'S A LOT OF THOUGHT THAT GOES INTO HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE THAT YOU SORT OF COVER WHERE IT CAME FROM. AND TRUMP OBVIOUSLY DOESN'T KNOW THAT THERE ARE PROTOCOLS. HE HAS THE AUTHORITY, THAT'S TRUE. BUT HE'S ALSO IN CHARGE OF NATIONAL SECURITY. HE SHOULD BE GOING TO THE PROTOCOLS IF HE WANTS TO PASS INFORMATION TO THE RUSSIANS.

TED SIMONS: RIGHT. THE DETAILS OF THE ARRANGEMENT WERE APPARENTLY KEPT FROM THE ALLIES. THE DETAILS TIGHTLY RESTRICTED AS YOU INFER THERE, THEY'RE TIGHTLY RESTRICTED EVEN WITHIN THE U.S. GOVERNMENT.

PHILLIP JONES: AND WE DIDN'T APPARENTLY PASS IT TO ANY OF OUR CLOSE ALLIES LIKE GREAT BRITAIN AND CANADA. THESE COUNTRIES CALLED THE FIVE EYES AND WE HAVE CONSTANT SHARING OF INTELLIGENCE, EVEN SOME OF OUR SYSTEMS ARE COMMON.

TED SIMONS: THE STATE DEPARTMENT HAD NO IDEA IT WAS GOING TO BE PASSED ON.

PHILLIP JONES: THE ISRAELIS ARE SAYING NICE THINGS, OF COURSE, THAT THEY STILL HAVE CONFIDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES. ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT INTELLIGENCE SHARING IS IT'S CALLED THE GOLDEN RULE. YOU DON'T PASS ON INFORMATION THAT YOU GAIN FROM A THIRD PARTY WITHOUT ASKING THE THIRD PARTY IF IT'S OKAY.

TED SIMONS: FROM WHERE YOU SIT, DID IT SEEM LIKE HE JUST BLURTED THIS OUT?

PHILLIP JONES: I THINK SO. I THINK SO. I DON'T THINK HE UNDERSTANDS THE SYSTEM. AND WHETHER OR NOT HE FEELS HE DOESN'T NEED TO KNOW THE SYSTEM. THAT'S -- YOU KNOW, UP FOR SPECULATION. BUT YES, I DO THINK IMPULSE CONTROL MAY BE A PROBLEM THAT HE HAS.

TED SIMONS: HE DID SAY AND HIS PEOPLE ARE SAYING THAT HE DECIDED THAT RUSSIA'S AN ALLY AND RUSSIA SHOULD KNOW THIS.

PHILLIP JONES: RUSSIA IS NOT AN ALLY. HOW CAN YOU CALL RUSSIA AN ALLY.

TED SIMONS: THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE SAYING.

PHILLIP JONES: NO, RUSSIA IS NOT AN ALLY.

TED SIMONS: AN ALLY AGAINST AN ISLAMIC STATE.

PHILLIP JONES: NOT DOING A WHOLE LOT AGAINST THE ISLAMIC STATE. SO WHAT THEY'RE DOING IS REALLY BOLSTERING THE SYRIAN REGIME. AND GOING AFTER SOME OF THE REBEL ELEMENTS THAT WOULD LIKE TO BRING DOWN THE ASSAD GOVERNMENT. BUT YOU DON'T SEE A BIG EFFORT BY THE SYRIANS AND THE RUSSIANS AGAINST ICISS.

TED SIMONS: AND THE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR ORIGINALLY SAID NO INTELLIGENCE SOURCES OR METHODS WERE DISCUSSED.

PHILLIP JONES: THAT'S RIGHT.

TED SIMONS: BUT HE WASN'T ACCUSED OF DOING THAT. HE WAS ACCUSED OF SPILLING THE BEANS ON WHERE THIS WAS.

PHILLIP JONES: YEAH. I MEAN THAT WAS IMPORTANT. YOU HAVE TO PARSE THE STATEMENT BY McMASTER. HE SAID TWO THINGS. HE SAID NO SOURCE OR METHODS WERE IN ANY WAY COMPROMISED NOR WERE ANY FORTHCOMING MILITARY OPERATIONS THAT HAD NOT BEEN PUBLICLY ANNOUNCED.

TED SIMONS: RIGHT.

PHILLIP JONES: SO HE REALLY WAS PUT OUT THERE TO SORT OF BEGIN THE PROCESS, I THINK OF MAYBE TRYING TO GET THIS A LITTLE BIT UNDER CONTROL. THE TRAGEDY IS THAT YOU KNOW YOU -- YOU SEND THESE PEOPLE OUT TO SPEAK TO THE PUBLIC, AND THEN THE PRESIDENT SORT OF UNDERCUTS THEM WITH THE TWEETS. WELL, LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS WITH McMASTER. I HAVE GREAT RESPECT FOR HIM. I'M GLAD HE'S THERE. BECAUSE HE WAS ONE OF THE FEW PEOPLE THAT YOU CAN REALLY TRUST.

TED SIMONS: WE'RE NOW GETTING REPORTS, THOUGH, THAT THE PRESIDENT IS LOSING PATIENCE WITH McMASTER. HE THINKS HE TALKS TOO MUCH DURING MEETINGS. AND I THINK THE QUOTE WAS HE WAS A PAIN. I MEAN, GOODNESS GRACIOUS HERE. I MEAN --

PHILLIP JONES: I HEAR YOU.

TED SIMONS: GOODNESS GRACIOUS HERE. THAT'S MY QUESTION SO HOW MUCH JEOPARDY NOW DO YOU THINK -- ISRAEL IS SAYING ALL OF THE RIGHT THINGS. DOES THIS JEOPARDIZE THAT ARRANGEMENT? OR IT HAS TO SURVIVE, DOESN'T IT?

PHILLIP JONES: IT WILL SURVIVE. THE ISRAELIS NEED US, WE NEED THEM. I THINK THERE'LL BE A LOT OF QUESTIONING ABOUT OUT IN THE COMMUNITY AND AMONG -- AMONGST OUR PARTNERS, OUR ALLIES. WE HAVE A LOT OF RELATIONSHIPS. NOT JUST WITH THE FIVE EYES, BUT WE HAVE A LOT OF RELATIONSHIPS. WE WORK WITH OTHER SERVICES ON THINGS LIKE, WELL, AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN, ALL OF THAT. PEOPLE WHO ARE OUT THERE. CASE OFFICERS, PEOPLE RECRUITING TO WORK WITH US. IT WILL BE MORE DIFFICULT. BECAUSE PEOPLE GOING TO WONDER, AM I SAFE? AM I SAFE? WILL THE UNITED STATES REALLY PROTECT ME?

TED SIMONS: DO YOU THINK -- DO YOU THINK THIS SERIOUSLY UNDERCUTS ESPIONAGE EFFORTS AROUND THE WORLD?

PHILLIP JONES: IT PUTS A REAL DENT IN THEM. I THINK THERE'S A CERTAIN UNDERCUTTING. I MEAN, WE'VE HAD -- WE'VE HAD WIKILEAKS, WE'VE HAD SNOWDEN AND ALL OF THESE THINGS.

TED SIMONS: LAST QUESTION. MAYBE IT'S JUST ME. LETTING A PHOTOGRAPHER IN TO THE WHITE HOUSE AND HAVE NO AMERICAN PRESS THERE, IS THAT --

PHILLIP JONES: IT'S STRANGE. AND I THINK THAT THE UNDERLYING QUESTION HERE THAT CLINKS BOTH COMBY AND THIS DISCLOSURE IS RUSSIA. I THINK A LOT OF US ARE WONDERING, YOU KNOW, WHAT IS IT ABOUT RUSSIA THAT -- THAT TRUMP IS SO POSITIVE ABOUT?

TED SIMONS: COULD THIS COMEY THING BE BE MORE SERIOUS THAN THE CLASSIFIED INFORMATION LEAGUE?

PHILLIP JONES: THE OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE. IF THAT'S HOW IT'S UNDERSTOOD, IT COULD BE VERY, VERY SERIOUS. THE ONLY PEOPLE LAUGHING ABOUT THIS IS THE RUSSIANS. LOOK WHAT THEY'VE DONE TO US. THE DISARRAY IN OUR GOVERNMENT. THE PEOPLE OF THE AMERICAN SYSTEM, THE LEGITIMACY OF IT. CAN WE HANG TOGETHER ANYMORE? IT'S JUST -- THEY'VE GOT TO BE THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE IN EUROPE.

TED SIMONS: YEAH, VERY STRANGE. ALMOST SURREAL. GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN. GOOD INFORMATION. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. WE APPRECIATE IT.

PHILLIP JONES: YOU'RE WELCOME.

Philip Jones: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

A cactus blooms in the Sonoran Desert
aired Feb. 28

Desert Dreams: Celebrating Five Seasons in the Sonoran Desert

A cute little duckling with text reading: Arizona PBS Ducks in a Row Event
March 6

Getting Your Ducks in a Row to Avoid Conflict When You Are Gone

Barry Gibb singing (Bee Gees: In Our Own Time)
aired Feb. 24

Bee Gees: In Our Own Time

Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson
aired Feb. 23

The Highwaymen: Live at Nassau Coliseum

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: