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15 Feb, 2017 12:17

Trump: Intelligence community giving out classified information to press ‘like candy’

US President Donald Trump has criticized the US intelligence community for allegedly leaking classified information to the media, responding to the latest report on alleged communications between his campaign aides and Russian intelligence agents.

Trump tweeted that information is “being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community,” wondering whether the NSA and FBI could be behind the leaks.

In a later post, he said it was “very un-American” that classified information “is illegally given out by ‘intelligence’ like candy.”

The remarks came after the New York Times and CNN ran a story based on anonymous sources, which claimed that several associates of Trump had regular contact with Russian intelligence and other officials during his election campaign.

The president dismissed the reports as “non-sense,” attributing them to an attempt to cover up the failure of his rival Hillary Clinton in the election.

He also praised Bloomberg View columnist Eli Lake for his views on the intelligence community’s role in current US politics, apparently referring to his piece on the resignation of Michael Flynn. In the column, Lake said “in normal times,” intelligence leaks to the media on intercepted communications of top US officials “would alarm those worried about creeping authoritarianism.”

The Kremlin described the reports on alleged contact between Trump’s associates and Russian intelligence as “laughable” and lacking verifiable facts.

READ MORE: US media reports of Trump links to Russian intelligence ‘laughable, cite no facts’ – Kremlin

“Those reports are not based on concrete facts,” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday, noting that “there are five different sources in the story and none is named. So you see, really laughable stories are now given a go.”