Only in the more "granular" detail in the coverage could I find the sinful "breach of etiquette" that Trump supposedly committed, the one and only specific thing Trump was accused of revealing that he shouldn't have: "the city in Syria where the ally picked up the information about the plot." Supposedly, by naming the city, Trump gave Russia an "important clue about the source of the information," and raised "the fear" that, with the name of that city, Russia "could disrupt the ally's espionage efforts" against ISIS. [my italics]
Another bunch of woulds, coulds, and fears that. After reading this, even I was flabbergasted at how thin this gruel was---- and how desperately the media and politicians were trying to make a meal out of it. Republican Bob Corker was quoted about how "compromise[ing] a source is something you just don't do," and Democrat Mark Warner about how "inexcusable" it is to "risk sources and methods," despite the fact that the reports themselves indicate Trump did neither of those things. If it was so terrible for Trump to name a city in Syria to the Russian Foreign Minister in a private meeting, how terrible was it for the media to publicly inform ISIS that they might be harboring a spy in a Syrian city?
In other words, this coverage is another stream of insinuations about what Trump kinda, sorta, but actually didn't--but the articles themselves did--do.
As Marcy Wheeler aptly put it:
So multiple people learned of this event, and went out and leaked it (which is illegal to do for most anyone besides the President, the WaPo helpfully notes), not just with the WaPo's two reporters, but with reporters from Buzzfeed, NYT, WSJ, and more. They leaked it to reporters who they presumably knew would then report it, alerting the frustrated ally that Trump had shared the information, which is a blow to that relationship, and also alerting the frustrated ally that they then proceeded to go leak it more.
And it's all based on the blithe assumption that Trump telling Russia about dangers to civilian aircraft is worse than the American media itself informing ISIS about a spy in their midst.
It seemed obvious to me that the main purpose or these stories was to continue fomenting antagonism with Russia, and to perpetuate the notion, taken up enthusiastically and disturbingly by liberals, that the main problem with the omni -incompetent Donald Trump is that he is too friendly with Russia.
Combined with the other fear-mongering article about the North Korean missile test featured on the NYT, I thought media project for the day was to keep the war drums beating, and I was prompted to begin writing something about that.
Then I noticed (thanks to a tweet by Max Blunenthal) that Alan Dershowitz had called the Trump-betrayed-ally's-secrets-to-Russia story "the most serious charge ever made against a sitting president." It had been evident to me, in reading the coverage, that there was only one "Middle Eastern ally" (or ally of any region) which has the chutzpah to "warn" the United States "it would cut off access to"sensitive information"--while itself stealing, with impunity, America's most closely-guarded secrets. As Newsweek reported in 2014: "Israel has been caught carrying out aggressive espionage operations against American targets for decades" They just don't get arrested very often." (Also see here, here, and here). There is only one ally about whose "compromise" Republicans and Democrats would be so unanimously concerned, and certainly only one who would have prompted the ridiculous charge by Dershowitz. And within an hour, the NYT confirmed, again via a "current and former American official," that Israel was the ally in question, the source of the "secret intelligence."
So now we have the American media explicitly revealing to Russia, ISIS, and the world, the supposedly key piece of information that Trump was being excoriated for even implying.