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Trump, Netanyahu spoke via phone amid talk of intelligence leak

Posted on 19 May 2017 by KWBG

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) — President Trump spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, a senior source in the prime minister’s office told ABC News. The call, first reported by the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, lasted about 20 minutes and focused only on the president’s visit to Israel next week.

The call was not listed on the prime minister’s schedule or on the White House schedule, but Haaretz reported it was Trump who called Netanyahu after the U.S. president spoke with Jordan’s King Abdullah. The call with Abdullah was listed on the official White House schedule.

According to the senior source in the prime minister’s office, Tuesday’s call focused solely on the upcoming visit, which is particularly surprising given the timing. On Monday night, ABC News reported the life of a spy placed by Israel inside ISIS was at risk, according to current and former U.S. officials, after Trump reportedly disclosed classified information in a meeting with Russian officials last week.

Israeli officials have not confirmed the origin of the information, but according to the senior source in Netanyahu’s office, intelligence was not discussed.

According to current and former U.S. officials, the spy provided intelligence involving an active ISIS plot to bring down a passenger jet en route to the United States, with a bomb hidden in a laptop that U.S. officials believe can get through airport screening machines undetected. The information was reliable enough that the U.S. is now considering a ban on laptops on all flights from Europe to the United States.

In the wake of the reports, Israeli officials have expressed confidence in the intelligence-sharing relationship.

Tweeting Wednesday morning, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman wrote, “The security relationship between Israel and our greatest ally the United States, is deep, significant and unprecedented in volume.”

“This relationship with the US is unprecedented in its contribution to our strength. This is how it has been and how it will continue to be,” Liberman added.

Israeli Minister of Intelligence Israel Katz also weighed in on Wednesday.

“I have complete confidence in the American intelligence community. Intelligence cooperation between Israel and the United States regarding the threats posed by Iran and its proxies and ISIS and its affiliates will continue and deepen,” Katz said.

On Tuesday, as the first reports of the origins of the intelligence surfaced, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer released a statement saying, “Israel has full confidence in our intelligence-sharing relationship with the United States and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump.”

Next week, Trump will have the opportunity to speak directly with Netanyahu when he arrives in Israel as part of his first foreign trip. Earlier this week, the prime minister welcomed the new U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

“We had a very good meeting,” Netanyahu said on Tuesday. “We discussed the friendship between the two countries and I told him that the U.S. Embassy –- like all embassies –- should be moved to Jerusalem.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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