During his first war zone visit in the two years since he took office, five days into a self-inflicted government shutdown, President Trump may have exposed the identities and whereabouts of a Navy SEAL team deployed to Iraq.
Trump appears to have accidentally revealed classified information by showing special operation forces in a video posted Wednesday on Twitter, as Newsweek reports. The video shows the President and First Lady Melania Trump taking pictures with what appears to be service members from SEAL Team Five.
Official photographs and videos typically blur the individual faces of special-op forces before being released to the general public, due to the sensitive nature of their jobs. You’ll see no such care taken here.
“Operational security is the most important aspect of personnel deployments. The real names, faces and identities, of personnel involved in special operations or activities, are usually a closely held secret in a combat zone,” former U.S. Navy intelligence specialist Malcolm Nance told Newsweek. “Revealing them casually, through an unusual media exposure even if it’s the commander-in-chief, would prove a propaganda boom if any of this personnel are detained by a hostile government or captured by a terrorist group.”
On top of this operational security blunder, the video in question is set to Lee Greenwood’s’ jingoistic, GOP-favorite track “God Bless the U.S.A.,” and comes as part of the president’s response to criticisms of a self-inflicted partial government shutdown over funding for a racist “boarder” wall. Just when you think he couldn’t get worse, President Trump finds a new way to mess up the very basics of his job.