The US was forced to extract a top-secret source from Russia after President Donald Trump revealed classified information to two Russian officials in 2017, CNN reported on Monday.
A person directly involved with the discussions told the outlet the US was concerned that Trump and his administration routinely mishandled classified intelligence and that their actions could expose the covert source as a spy within the Russian government.
Trump stunned the national-security apparatus and intelligence community when it surfaced that in an Oval Office meeting in May 2017 he shared the information with Sergey Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, and Sergey Kislyak, then Russia's ambassador to the US.
Trump's disclosure was not specifically about the Russian spy. But his disregard of strict intelligence-sharing rules to protect highly placed sources "prompted intelligence officials to renew earlier discussions about the potential risk" that the source in Russia would be exposed, CNN reported.
At the Oval Office meeting, which took place one day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the president is said to have boasted to the Russians that firing "nut job" Comey had taken "great pressure" off him. Comey had been spearheading the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
Trump then went on to share with Lavrov and Kislyak intelligence connected to the Islamic State in Syria. The information came from Israel, which had not given the US permission to share it with the Russians because it could have compromised an Israeli source in the region.
The report said that Mike Pompeo, the CIA director at the time, also told other senior Trump administration officials after the meeting that too much information was coming out regarding the US asset in Russia.