WORRISOME

Russian Photographer’s Visit to White House Prompts Alarm

Former intelligence officials have expressed alarm over the White House’s decision to allow a Russian photographer into the Oval Office for President Trump’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday. The photographer, who was working for one of Russia’s state-owned news agencies, was allowed into the meeting even as his American counterparts were blocked. A senior administration official told The Washington Post that while the Russian photographer went through a thorough security screening, Russian officials had misled the White House about his role. The Russian was not just Lavrov’s official photographer, as Russian officials said, but also a journalist employed by the state-run Tass news agency, according to the report. “We were not informed by the Russians that their official photographer was dual-hatted and would be releasing the photographs on the state news agency,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Several former U.S. officials were cited by the Post as saying the move was a potential security breach, giving the Russian government the chance to plant listening devices or surveillance equipment in the Oval Office. The incident adds to a growing list of concerns over the Trump administration’s ties to and handling of Russia, just a day after Trump’s high-profile firing of FBI Director James Comey, the man in charge of the investigation into Moscow’s alleged ties to the Trump campaign.