Responding to the latest White House leak, President Trump has correctly pointed out that he has the “right” to share with Russia “facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety.”
His stated motives, “humanitarian reasons” and the desire for Russia to “greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism,” are all within the sphere of what civilized nations, friendly or not so long as they aren’t actually at war, should do for each other.
After all, regardless of our mostly manufactured differences, there’s a far greater enemy out there – Islamic terrorism.
Which begs the question – would Russia do the same for us?
The answer is that they already have.
In April 2013, the New York Times covered the debate surrounding whether or not a Russian warning to American intelligence agencies about the Boston bombers should have led to steps to foil the plot.
In March 2011, the Russian security service sent a stark warning to the F.B.I., reporting that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was “a follower of radical Islam” who had “changed drastically since 2010” and was preparing to travel to Russia’s turbulent Caucasus to connect with underground militant groups. Six months later, Russia sent the same warning to the C.I.A.
Of course, instead of the F.B.I foiling the plot, Tsarnaev and his younger brother, Dzhokhar, killed three people and maimed several others by setting off bombs at the Boston Marathon.
Even Lindsey Graham was upset at the time, and perfectly willing to act on intelligence from Russia:
“You have Russian intelligence services contacting two agencies within our federal government responsible for our national security, the F.B.I. and the C.I.A.,” [Graham] said. “They tell us, ‘We believe you have a radical Islamist in your midst.’ ” Despite the warning and the F.B.I.’s initial follow-up, Mr. Graham said, Mr. Tsarnaev was able to visit Dagestan and return unnoticed, and discuss “killing Americans” openly on the Internet undetected.
Beyond whether or not the F.B.I. should have taken Russian information and foiled a plot lies the fact that the Russians did share actionable intelligence with U.S. intelligence agencies.
And President Trump is not only well within his rights to do the same when the situation is reversed, a strong argument could be made that he is morally obligated to do so.
Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.
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