News ID: 236499
Published: 0458 GMT December 27, 2018

Trump blunder reveals identity of US Navy SEALs in Iraq

Trump blunder reveals identity of US Navy SEALs in Iraq

US President Donald Trump has come under fire for accidentally revealing the identity of US Navy SEALs during his surprise trip to Iraq.

The embarrassing gaffe came Wednesday when the American president posted a video on Twitter that showed him talking and taking selfies with members of a California-based SEAL team during an unannounced trip to Baghdad, presstv.ir reported.

Trump flew to Iraq on Tuesday hoping to score positive news headlines over the holiday season amid a partial government shutdown and a series of other serious issues.

After touchdown in Baghdad's Al Asad air base, the president and his wife, Melania, talked to US service members before posing for pictures with them.

According to pool reports, the trip's details were kept a secret until Trump finished giving a speech before a group of about 100 troops, mostly US special operation forces engaged in combat operations in Iraq and Syria.

The reports said Trump then paused to take a selfie with US Navy Lieutenant Commander Kyu Lee, who identified himself as the chaplain for SEAL Team Five, based out of Coronado, California.

Trump told him in response: “Hey, in that case, let’s take a picture.”

After leaving Iraq's airspace, the American head of state posted a video to his Twitter account that shows the Trumps taking pictures with troops that appeared to be from the US Navy SEAL Team Five.

In the video, the special warfare forces are seen dressed in full battle gear and wearing night vision goggles.

The reports said Trump's video revealed more “special operations personnel and support troops” were featured in the video as well, which was still available at the time of this writing.

“The real names, faces, and identities of personnel involved in special operations or activities are usually a closely held secret in a combat zone,” Malcolm Nance, a former US Navy intelligence specialist with experience in Iraq 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. There would be no denying who you are and what you do.”

An unknown Pentagon official also acknowledged on condition of anonymity it was unusual to post video revealing the special ops troops’ faces without blurring or otherwise censoring them was unusual.

“Even during special operation demonstrations for congressional delegations or for the president or vice president, personnel either have their faces covered or their face is digitally blurred prior to a release to the general public,” the unnamed official said.

The blunder set the social media on fire, as expected.

   
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