Because he wanted a photo op, Trump accidentally revealed the location and identities of SEAL Team Five
In today’s edition of Things No Other President Could Ever Get Away With, our esteemed Commander-In-Chief exposed the locations and identities of Navy SEAL Team Five on Twitter. Because forget the security and safety of our military personnel — Cadet Bone Spurs needed a self-serving photo op.
After a string of whiny tweets about being “alone” on Christmas because of the government shutdown that’s 100 percent his own doing, President Trump apparently decided he needed some good PR and headed off on his first visit to a combat zone during his two years in office. It only took Barack Obama three months to visit deployed troops in Iraq as president (he first went as a Senator), but we digress.
In a video tweeted from his account that probably sent chills down the spines of any military spouse, President Trump blasted the faces of Navy SEAL Team Five for the whole world to see. Even my nine-year-old probably knows better.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 26, 2018
Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” plays over the video that shows the President and First Lady Melania Trump posing with service members that are reportedly from SEAL Team Five. They’re dressed in full battle gear including night vision goggles. The President had yet to visit troops because he’s “afraid of those situations. He’s afraid people want to kill him,” according to a former senior White House official.
Trump also posed for photos with the group of men including Navy SEAL Team Five Chaplain U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Kyu Lee. The White House Press Pool reported that after finding out Lee was a SEAL he said, “Hey, in that case, let’s take a picture.” Now, their location is known to anyone and everyone.
Newsweek points out that while Trump has the power to declassify information like this, the specific unit’s information is usually not revealed to the public, with any official photos or videos blurring out the faces of special ops team members to keep them safe while doing their job.
So either Trump didn’t have this knowledge — or didn’t care. It’s honestly a toss-up.
Defense Department officials both current and former told Newsweek that sensitive information such as deployed units and their locations is “almost always classified” and if revealed, “is a violation of operational security.”
Malcolm Nance, a former U.S. Navy intelligence specialist, tells Newsweek this blunder is a really big deal. “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,” he said. “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 anonymous Pentagon official told Newsweek, “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,” they said.
“I don’t recall another time where special operation forces had to pose with their faces visible while serving in a war zone.”
To top it all off, CNN reports that Trump (once again) lied about military pay raises telling the assembled troops, “You protect us. We are always going to protect you. And you just saw that, ’cause you just got one of the biggest pay raises you’ve ever received. … You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years. More than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one. I got you a big one.”
Actually, military pay has gone up every year for the last three decades or so — but since when has Trump let a pesky thing like facts get in the way of making himself look like a hero?
“They had plenty of people that came up, they said, ‘You know, we could make it smaller. We could make it 3%, we could make it 2%, we could make it 4%,'” Trump told the troops about the 2019 raise. “I said, ‘No. Make it 10%. Make it more than 10%.'”
Fact check: the 2019 raise is 2.6 percent.
Our president is a ridiculous liar and carnival barker, and now, he’s proven that even those defending our country aren’t deserving of the truth — or their own safety — as long as his ego’s on the line.