After forcing a government shutdown, Donald Trump has been looking for ways to distract the public from his failure to BUILD THE WALL, and a trip to Iraq seemed like a publicity slam dunk for his image at a critical time. Surely he couldn’t screw this up, right?
Trump flew out to Iraq on Christmas evening, and landed this morning. He visited the Al Asad Air Base outside of Baghdad, where he spoke to a group of about 100 assembled U.S. troops, the majority of whom were special operations forces.
Unfortunately, any goodwill among veterans and their families that Trump may have picked up from the trip has been undermined by the fact that he seems to have revealed the identities of a covert Navy SEAL team. Trump posted a video on Twitter that showed the team’s faces, which is a violation of operational security.
Trump posted a video on his Twitter account after he left Iraqi airspace that shows several U.S. Navy SEALs who are in Iraq on covert missions.
After Trump left Iraqi airspace, the president posted a video to his Twitter account of his time spent with American forces during his visit to Iraq. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” plays over the video and shows the president and the first lady posing for pictures with service members that appear to be from SEAL Team Five. The special warfare operators are dressed in full battle gear and wearing night vision goggles
The president has the power to declassify information, which means that posting the video is not a crime. However, revealing the identities of currently serving special forces is a breach of protocol and could endanger the troops, according to former and current Department of Defense officials.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 26, 2018
Of course, this isn’t Trump’s first failure in operational security. In October, the New York Times reported that when Trump calls friends on his personal iPhone — a device he was supposed to ditch for security measures — Russian and Chinese spies eavesdrop to gauge the president’s mood and who might have his ear on policy matters.
Other low-tech security risks emerged in the report: Last year, Trump left his cell behind in a golf cart at his course in New Jersey, causing “a scramble” to find it.
In April 2017 phone call, Trump told Rodrigo Duterte, the authoritarian president of the Philippines, that the U.S. had sent two nuclear submarines to the waters off the coast of North Korea. And, in May 2017, hours after the dismissal of James Comey, Trump revealed Israeli intelligence assets to the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, jeopardizing the Israeli-American intelligence link and leaving Mossad “boiling mad and demanding answers.”