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Vacationing Trump tweets leaky Fox News report

August 8, 2017

Donald Trump has retweeted a report based on unnamed US intelligence sources. Just last week, his attorney general pledged to clamp down on government leaks.

Washington Trump verabschiedet sich in Urlaub
Image: picture-alliance/Photoshot/T. Shen

On Tuesday, questions swirled about why US President Donald Trump, a vociferous opponent of leaks, might have taken to  his preferred medium, Twitter, to share a report from the allied Fox News network that relied on high-level anonymous sources. According to the report that Trump retweeted, spy agencies have detected North Korea "loading two anti-ship cruise missiles on a patrol boat on the country's east coast just days ago" - news attributed to anonymous US officials and an assertion that even the president's own ambassador to the United Nations found too hot to handle.

"I can't talk about anything that's classified - and if that's in a newspaper, that's a shame," Ambassador Nikki Haley said when confronted with the report on the morning infotainment program "Fox & Friends." It was not in a newspaper, however, but on the very network where she was being interviewed. "I have no reason to comment on it."

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Trump has denounced the leaks that have plagued his administration and frequently accuses media of reporting "fake news" - often seemingly well-verified articles that quote sources without revealing their names - but has rarely presented evidence to the contrary. Last week Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, vowed to crack down on insiders who reveal information to the media, arguing that such leaks could harm national security.

The White House did not respond to questions about why Trump retweeted the story on Tuesday or whether he had confirmed the report by doing so. Haley appeared unclear on the matter.

"It's one of these things," the ambassador told "Fox & Friends." "I don't know what's going on. But I will tell you that it's incredibly dangerous when things get out into the press like that."

mkg/msh (dpa, AP)