National Security adviser H.R. McMaster scrambles to Donald Trump’s defense, downplaying recent news of Donald Trump leaking highly classified data to Russian officials.
According to the Hill, McMaster claims Trump did not know where the source of the intel originated so there was no way he could jeopardize intelligence sources when he leaked the highly classified documents to Russian officials.
“The president in no way undermined sources or methods in the course of this conversation,” McMaster told White House reporters. “The president wasn’t even aware of where this information came from,” he continued, “He wasn’t briefed on the source.”
McMaster described the Trump’s discussion with the Russians as “wholly appropriate”, while calling for an investigation to be conducted into the source that leaked the contents of the discussion to media outlets.
“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,” he said. “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,” he said.
The National Security Adviser, however, did not respond to questions as to whom might lead the investigation into leaks to media sources before he left the podium, but McMaster did not neglect to suggest that the source could be connected to the Obama administration.
“There are a number of instances where this occurred and it’s important to investigate these things and make sure we have trusted organizations across our government that allows for the free sharing of information and collaboration,” McMaster said.
“In terms of national security, what is critical is that you can assemble the experts you need. You want a bigger group for these complex problems because you need their expertise and the tools they bring from different agencies and departments, so what we really have to do is make sure we have a very high degree of confidence in all our organizations and systems and processes.”
Watch McMaster’s full briefing below: