US told CNN not to report info Trump gave Russians because it could "get people killed"
The intelligence President Donald Trump disclosed to Russian officials Wednesday was so sensitive, administration officials told CNN in March that reporting on it would "get people killed," Jake Tapper said Tuesday.
CNN, Tapper reported, learned in March that intelligence "deemed credible" said that ISIS was developing laptop computer bombs.
Trump administration officials told CNN correspondent Evan Perez and network executives not to report certain details about the intelligence — and specifically warned against revealing the city where it was collected, as doing so would "tip off American adversaries about sources and methods used to gather the intelligence," Tapper said.
"It would, they insisted, get people killed," Tapper said on CNN's The Lead Tuesday.
CNN complied and withheld those details — the same ones that Trump, while boasting about the "great intel" he receives, reportedly disclosed to the Russians.
Among the sensitive information disclosed was the city where a U.S. ally, later reported to be in Israel, gathered the intelligence.
"It's the same city," Tapper said. "It's the same city CNN was cautioned not to report."
In revealing the government's March warning to CNN, Tapper seemingly undercut the administration's messaging that the information was "nothing you would not know from open-source reporting," as Trump's national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, said Tuesday.
"Again, this is the same city that intelligence officials say 'If we told it to you right now, it would get people killed,'" Tapper said. "But somehow, we are simultaneously supposed to believe that President Trump sharing this information — the city and more — with a U.S. adversary, Russia, is 'wholly appropriate.'"
A frustrated Tapper charged that Trump did not show the same restraint as news organizations in withholding the sensitive information and said the network was still being told not to report the name of the city Trump gave to the Russians.
"And we won't," Tapper said.