Donald Trump revealed the faces of a secret Navy SEAL team — and revealed where they were deployed — in a video he posted on Twitter, Newsweek is reporting.
President Trump and first lady Melania made a secret visit to join U.S. combat troops in Iraq over the Christmas holiday. In keeping with military protocol, the details of the event were largely kept secret until the president had landed, and had finished much of his work.
However, in one specific way, the president allegedly broke operational protocol: he allowed himself to be filmed in front of the Navy’s SEAL Team Five, and then posted the video on Twitter. In the process, he revealed not only that the secret special-forces team was in Iraq, but he revealed their faces as well.
During his visit with the troops, Trump shook a few hands, signed a few autographs — which may have itself been a violation of military protocol, per the Inquisitr — and posed for a few pictures. When a man identified himself as Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kyu Lee, the Chaplain of SEAL Team Five, Trump posed for pictures and video with the unit, clad in their battle gear, some of whom were sporting night-vision goggles. As Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The USA” played in the background, Trump posed for pictures with the team, according to the New York Post.
He then posted video of the meeting on Twitter.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 26, 2018
Malcolm Nance, a former U.S. Navy intelligence specialist, stopped short of calling the video a major security breach. But he did say that doing so was, at the very least, a breach of operational protocol.
“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.”
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) December 27, 2018
At a minimum, Nance says, the faces of the team members should have been obscured.
Nance also suggested some hypothetical ways in which this breach could come back to haunt members of the team.
“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.”
As of this writing, both the Pentagon and the White House have declined to comment on the video.