Appealing to president over ‘genuine concern’ names of British sources will be revealed
Bosses with the British intelligence agency MI6 are appealing to President Donald Trump over fears that the identities of government sources will be exposed if documents from the Mueller investigation are made public.
Intelligence sources in the US and UK told the Telegraph that the heads of MI6 in London are begging President Trump not to declassify the probe documents.
Trump’s aides have reportedly hit back with questions over why Britain is keen for the files to be kept secret.
If classified parts of the wiretap request were made public, authorities in the UK say they have “genuine concern” that key sources will be exposed as a result.
According to the Daily Mail, other sources also said MI6 was concerned the publication of the documents would set a ‘dangerous precedent’ for the release of top secret information and may dissuade future sources from coming forward.
A US based intelligence source said: “I think that stuff is going to implicate MI5 and MI6 in a bunch of activities they don’t want to be implicated in, along with FBI, counter-terrorism and the CIA.”
The documents in question concern an FBI request to wiretap former Trump policy adviser Carter Page submitted a month before the Presidential election in 2016.
Documents show the FBI suspected Page of being lured in by Russian intelligence, and the bureau was given leave to place him under intense surveillance for several months.
Leading Republicans have claimed the operation shows FBI-bias against conservative politicians and Trump has already published a portion of the top secret files.
Earlier this month, Trump suggested he would be willing to release 21 more pages from one of the applications – a move which sparked widespread outrage in British intelligence communities.
Memos describing alleged ties between Trump and Russia compiled by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele are contained in the papers, which may form part of the reason for Britain’s concern.
Steele is most notable for authoring a dossier which claims Russia collected a file of compromising information on Trump.
“It boils down to the exposure of people,” said one US intelligence official, adding:
“We don’t want to reveal sources and methods.”
The current row risks inflaming UK-US tensions at a time when Britain wants to deepen ties with America as it leaves the European Union.