Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has mocked US news reports suggesting President Donald Trump inappropriately shared sensitive intelligence with him about terror threats involving laptops on planes.
Without directly confirming the details of their conversation, Mr Lavrov said he did not understand what the “secret” was, since the US introduced a ban on laptops on airlines from some Middle Eastern countries two months ago. He joked that some US media were acting like communist newspapers in the former Soviet Union, and not offering real news.
Mr Lavrov said: “There used to be a joke in the Soviet Union that there was a newspaper, Pravda, so-called Truth, that there was no ‘izvestia’ or news in there. “Truly, I get this impression that many US media are working in this vein.”
Mr Lavrov was in Cyprus for talks with his Cypriot counterpart. Asked to comment on the controversy surrounding the reported intelligence-sharing, he said media have reported that “the secret” Mr Trump told him was that “terrorists are capable of stuffing laptops, all kinds of electronic devices, with untraceable explosive materials”.
He added: “As far as I can recall, the Trump administration maybe one month or two months before … had an official ban on laptops on airlines from seven middle Eastern counties and it was connected directly with the terrorist threat. “So, if you’re talking about that, I see no secret here.”
The Washington Post reported this week that Mr Trump shared highly classified information with Mr Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak about an Islamic State terror threat involving laptop computers on aircraft. Other outlets later confirmed the report.
Mr Trump responded by tweeting that as president, he has the authority to disclose whatever he likes. He did not deny discussing classified information.