State Department surprised by Tillerson defending Trump: report

State Department surprised by Tillerson defending Trump: report
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The State Department was caught unaware by Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump House passes legislation to elevate cybersecurity at the State Department Biden's is not a leaky ship of state — not yet MORE defending President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE’s handling of highly classified information, according to a new report.

State Department officials were in the dark about a White House statement attributed to Tillerson and released Monday night, CNN said.

CNN said State released the same statement more than 20 minutes after Tillerson’s remarks were distributed by the White House.

Tillerson pushed back in that statement against a Washington Post report about Trump disclosing classified information in a recent meeting with top Russian officials.


Senior State Department officials told CNN it was “odd” and “surprising” that the network knew the White House had issued Tillerson’s statement before their colleagues did. 

One official said the sequence of events left State “scrambling” to ascertain which nations were impacted by the incident.

“During that exchange the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods, or military operations,” he said in a statement.

The Post on Monday reported that Trump revealed highly classified intelligence information while meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last week.

Current and former U.S. officials told the Post that Trump relayed information from a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Trump’s “code-word information” disclosure risks damaging the relationship with the intelligence source, which has access to ISIS inner workings.

“[Trump] revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies,” a U.S. official with knowledge of the meeting said.

U.S. reporters were not permitted to cover last week’s meeting, where Trump allegedly described details about an ISIS threat using laptop computers on planes.