WASHINGTON — House Democrats had no concerns about President Barack Obama offering to share intelligence about Syria with Russia last June because that decision “was made as a product of consultation between the president and the intelligence community,” a top Democrat said Wednesday.
House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff and other Democrats accused President Donald Trump of disclosing classified information to Russian officials last week. The White House, including National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, has denied that the president revealed any such sensitive information.
In response to a question from The Daily Caller, Schiff explained the circumstances were entirely different.
“What should we disclose to an ally? What should we just goes to an adversary? What is in the national security best interests of the country? And there may very well be circumstances in Syria or elsewhere where you decide we need to share this information, because we want this party to behave in a certain way or just for humanitarian reasons because they face a real threat and we’re aware of that threat,” Schiff said.
“We generally don’t share intelligence with them, but it’s the right thing to do. But that decision always ought to be the product of deliberate thought and consultation. It should not be something that is simply rattled off in an effort to showcase how good the intelligence agencies are or make a good impression or for any other reason that needs to be a product of design and strategic thinking,” Schiff said.
He later added, “We share information where we have a strategic interest in doing so, and it doesn’t appear that there was any strategic thought given to the sharing of this information.”
In June 2016, the Obama administration offering to share Syrian intelligence with Russia about terrorists, The Washington Post reported.
State Department spokesman John Kirby told The Post at the time: “We’ve made no bones about the fact that if the Russians, with their military presence in Syria, proved to be willing to focus those efforts against Daesh, then that’s a conversation we would be willing to have.”
TheDC followed up with California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, who was at the Wednesday presser when Schiff made his remarks.
When asked how he thought the Obama administration’s action’s to reveal publicly the CIA station chief in Afghanistan or Seal Team Six’s involvement with the bin Laden raid was “deliberative” and benefited national security Swalwell only replied, “I’m focused on the urgency of now and right now, and I’m not going to speak to what happened in the past.”