As Republicans criticize the Biden administration following a significant attack on Israel by Hamas militants, a former U.S. general, Mark Hertling, took to Twitter to highlight an incident during Donald Trump’s presidency.
According to The Independent on Monday, October 9, Hertling referenced allegations that Trump shared classified intelligence from Israel with Russia, which raised concerns that Russia could have passed this information to Iran, a longtime supporter of the Palestinian cause.
The incident in question occurred in 2017 when Trump reportedly informed top Russian officials that Israel had successfully hacked ISIS computers to obtain intelligence on bomb plots against the West. Israel was alarmed that Russia might share this information with Iran.
Trump allegedly disclosed this information during a meeting at the White House with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, and the then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.
Despite the controversy, Trump defended his actions, claiming he had the right to share the information with Russia for humanitarian reasons and to bolster Russia’s efforts against ISIS and terrorism.
General Hertling’s reminder of this incident comes amid accusations by Republican presidential contenders that the Biden administration indirectly funded the recent attacks in Israel.
These attacks resulted in over 700 casualties and followed a deal that freed up $6 billion in previously frozen assets for humanitarian purposes in Iran.
While administration officials maintain that the funds have not yet been spent and are designated for humanitarian use, some Republicans, including Trump, Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, and JD Vance, suggest a possible link between the funds and the attacks.
Hertling, a vocal critic of Trump, highlighted the “fungible” nature of funds and the potential for Iran to allocate these funds differently. Iran annually provides around $100 million to Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis accused President Biden of leniency toward Iran, claiming that it indirectly contributed to the attacks on Israel. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott alleged that the attacks resulted from the $6 billion payment, referring to it as a “ransom.”
The White House, however, emphasized that the funds are earmarked for humanitarian purposes, such as food and medicine for Iranians, and are managed by vetted non-Iranian vendors.
Administration officials stress that these funds are not taxpayer money but originate from payments made by South Korea to Iran for oil purchases in recent years.
Trump criticized the Biden administration for perceived weakness on the global stage, suggesting that it has invited aggression. He further asserted that such events would not have transpired under his leadership.
While the controversy continues, Hamas militants launched attacks on Israel, leading to hundreds of casualties, including at least nine Americans. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of war and vowed vengeance.
The situation has escalated, with Israel initiating a “complete siege” of Gaza, including power cuts and restrictions on food and fuel. Sirens and explosions have been reported in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, indicating rocket attacks and potential mid-air interceptions.