Once again, Donald Trump seems to care more about his relationship with Russia than the security of the United States.
During a meeting with Russian officials in the Oval Office, Donald Trump denied access to the White House press corps, but he did allow Russian state media into the room.
In doing so, Trump possibly put the security of the closely guarded Oval Office — and potentially, as a result, the United States as a whole — in jeopardy.
Because no United States media was allowed into the meeting, all images from it were credited to the Russian state media outlet, TASS:
Photos of Trump's meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak just hit the Getty wire and they're all credited to Russian news agency TASS pic.twitter.com/qE9lWB6KuS
— Matt Novak (@paleofuture) May 10, 2017
TASS is the largest news agency in Russia, owned and operated by the Russian government. In essence, it is an extension of the Kremlin itself.
And when TASS brought their camera and other recording equipment into the Oval Office, it opened up an opportunity for the Russian government to potentially compromise the confidentiality and security of the heart of the executive branch of our federal government.
This prompted former Vice President Joe Biden's National Security Adviser, Colin Kahl, to pose the following question publicly:
Deadly serious Q: Was it a good idea to let a Russian gov photographer & all their equipment into the Oval Office? https://t.co/6WA4NxHxID
— Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) May 10, 2017
In response, former Deputy Director of the CIA, David Cohen, responded:
No, it was not.
— David S. Cohen (@cohendavid) May 10, 2017
Since the era of the Soviet Union, the Kremlin has been well-known for its prolific use of recording devices both domestically and internationally and for developing very sophisticated technology for making such devices extremely difficult to locate or identify. Though it is not known whether or not TASS brought in any such devices, allowing them access at a minimum provided them with an opportunity to assess and record security measures and other operational aspects of the White House.
Not only are Trump and his administration cavalier about Russian active measures interfering with the U.S. electoral process and violating U.S. sovereignty, they are also apparently unconcerned about the security of the White House itself — at least when it comes to access by the Russian government.
Every American, regardless of political affiliation, should be concerned about what that means.