Media Continue Attacks on President Trump’s Iraq Visit: ‘Video Puts Troops at Risk’

TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump greets members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018. - President Donald Trump arrived in Iraq on his first visit to US troops deployed in a war zone since his election two …
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
PENNY STARR

The media continue to attack President Donald Trump following his visit this week to troops in Iraq, including claiming that a video posted on Twitter reveals members of Navy SEAL special operations team and could put them at risk.

It was Trump’s first visit to a conflict zone, and he and first lady Melania Trump spent several hours visiting with the troops, including taking video and photos with the men and women serving there. 

The president got an enthusiastic welcome from the troops, including some who asked him to sign their Make America Great Again hats.

@FLOTUS Melania and I were honored to visit our incredible troops at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.!” Trump tweeted while on Air Force One on a return flight to the United States.

Newsweek headlined its assessment of Trump’s visit: “Donald Trump Twitter Account Video Reveals Covert U.S. Navy Seal Deployment During Iraq Visit.” 

The article also accused the White House communications team of exposing troop’s identities, using mostly unnamed sources.

President Donald Trump and the White House communications team revealed that a U.S. Navy SEAL team was deployed to Iraq after the president secretly traveled to the region to meet with American forces serving in a combat zone for the first time since being elected to office.

While the commander-in-chief can declassify information, usually the specific special operations unit is not revealed to the American public, especially while U.S. service members are deployed. Official photographs and videos typically blur the individual faces of special operation forces, due to the sensitive nature of their job.

The president’s video posted Wednesday did not shield the faces of special operation forces. Current and former Defense Department officials told Newsweek that information concerning what units are deployed and where is almost always classified and is a violation of operational security.

But the military did not confirm Newsweek’s speculation about the alleged breach of protocol. The Pentagon referred the magazine to the White House when the magazine asked about the video.

“Naval Special Warfare Command and the White House did not return a request for comment from Newsweek as of publication,” the outlet reported.

Newsweek cited a Department of Defense official who spoke “on condition of anonymity,” saying faces of military operatives are usually “digitally blurred” or blocked out.

Newsweek did speak with Malcolm Nance, a former U.S. Navy intelligence specialist, who said the identities of special operations are “usually a closely held secret in a combat zone” because it may put them at risk if they are captured by an enemy.

The video on Trump’s Twitter account shows troops visiting openly with the president and first lady.

“At one point, Trump paused to take a selfie with US Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kyu Lee, who said he was the chaplain for SEAL Team Five, which is based in Coronado, California,” the New York Post reported.

“The chaplain said the president told him: ‘Hey, in that case, let’s take a picture,’” the Post reported.

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