National security adviser had a simple rebuttal to the Washington Post story that alleged President Donald Trump shared highly classified information with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov: he was in the room and it didn’t happen.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, McMaster openly questioned media reports that contended Trump put intelligence sources in a precarious position by offering up sensitive information to a foreign power. He noted that Trump only discussed that which was “wholly appropriate” for him to mention.
“The president in no way undermined sources or methods in the course of this conversation,” McMaster said, also conceding that the details of his talks with Lavrov could be found in “open-source reporting” carried out in relation to the meeting.
As for whether Trump recklessly endangered national security with the talk, McMaster noted that he transmitted information that was provided to him through an unusual channel.
“The president wasn’t even aware of where this information came from. He wasn’t briefed on the source,” McMaster said.
Later, the national security adviser turned the issue on its head to attack reporters – namely at the Washington Post and other outlets with a history of scooping questionable stories supposedly obtained from with the Trump white house – for shirking national security by going public with stories that supposedly contain dangerous intel.
“I think the real issue, and what I would like to see debated more, is that our national security has been put at risk by those violating confidentiality,” McMaster said, adding: “I think national security is put at risk by this leak and leaks like this… It’s incumbent on all of us to bring in the people with the right mandate and the right authorities to take a look at how this leak occurred and how other breaches may have occurred as well.: