CNN is reporting that one of the highest-level American spies in Russia was extracted during a secret 2017 mission after concerns that Trump would reveal the spy. The cable news network cited a person directly involved in the conversation about the removal.
The decision to plan an extraction came after Trump’s May 2017 meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. The president during that meeting shared highly classified intelligence given by Israel about ISIS in Syria, according to CNN.
This information sparked a fear that the spy would be discovered, and then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo warned senior Trump officials about the extent of information being released about the source.
CNN did not identify the spy or release any revealing details.
The White House and CIA both released statements to CNN taking issue with the report.
“CNN’s narrative that the Central Intelligence Agency makes life-or-death decisions based on anything other than objective analysis and sound collection is simply false,” CIA Director for Public Affairs Brittany Barmell said in a statement to CNN.
“Misguided speculation that the President’s handling of our nation’s most sensitive intelligence — which he has access to each and every day — drove an alleged exfiltration operation is inaccurate.”
The White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told CNN that its “reporting is not only incorrect, it has the potential to put lives in danger.”
The removal of the spy caused the United States to lose a key source in the Russian government built up over time in a time when there’s increased tensions between the countries, sources told CNN.
CNN reported that a source said the United States had “no equal alternative” insight into the Russian government and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Last month, Russia experienced a nuclear explosion, causing the relationship between it and the U.S. to become even more strain