The order issued recently by US President Trump which allows Attorney General William Barr to declassify all intelligence that justified the infamous Mueller probe has CIA officials very worried, according to a report by The New York Times.
Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, said the agency will provide the Attorney General with any information he requests, but also warned that declassifying such information will put US national security at risk by inevitably revealing some assets the agency relies upon.
"I am confident that the attorney general will work with the [intelligence community] in accordance with the long-established standards to protect highly-sensitive classified information that, if publicly released, would put our national security at risk," Coats said Friday.
Trump who stands accused by House Democrats of lacking transparency due his stonewalling of numerous ongoing House investigations — granted the Attorney General the power to declassify intel. Trump defended his decision by saying: "What are we doing, we are exposing everything," "We are being transparent."
"Long nurtured by the CIA, the source rose to a position that enabled the informant to provide key information in 2016 about the Russian leadership's role in the interference campaign," the Times writes.
According to the report, the mysterious source provided evidence that Putin himself was behind the hacking of Hillary Clinton's email server. Clinton, the former State Secretary had installed the server in her home in violation of security regulations.
The intelligence provided by the source was so secret that it was even excluded from President Obama's daily briefings. Then-CIA director John Brennan personally brought the information to the White House.
Disclosure of such a source — if this person really does exist — will, naturally, mean the CIA can no longer rely on them. Some note, however, that while this is not nearly enough to prove Putin's involvement in the email server hack, proving that this source did exist might at least give allegations by Democrats some degree of political credibility — something that Trump would understandably not like to do.
But this remains to be seen, as Attorney General Barr rummages through classified information. In the meantime, the Democrats decried declassification of the intel as "politicization" of intel.
"The president now seems intent on declassifying intelligence to weaponize it," Adam Schiff, a Californian Democratic Representative, said in an interview.
"We are going to expose any abuse, any politicization of intelligence," he said.
In the meantime, the CIA expressed concerns about revealing the names of US nationals who "oversee assets," according to the Times.
"If the president of the United States asks for a name, it would be hard not to provide a name," said John Sipher, a former CIA official who worked on Russia operations for the agency.
After the probe found no proof of collusion, the Democrats launched a number of separate investigations into Trump, once again issuing numerous subpoenas to his aides. This time, Trump exercised a presidential privilege, blocking the subpoenas, and sparking allegations of lack of transparency.