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2-min read

Did Trump Just Reveal Identities of His Secret US Navy Seal Team With a Twitter Video?

US President Donald Trump tweeted a video of him posing for photos and giving a thumbs up alongside a group of what appear to be special operations forces.

AFP

Updated:December 28, 2018, 9:12 AM IST
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Did Trump Just Reveal Identities of His Secret US Navy Seal Team With a Twitter Video?
File photo of US President Donald Trump. (Image: Reuters)
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Washington: US President Donald Trump may have inadvertently unmasked a Navy SEAL team during his short visit to a US base in Iraq this week.

Ordinarily, the whereabouts of special operations forces are a closely held secret. In the rare instances when they are filmed while in a combat zone, their faces and other identifying features are usually blurred out.

But after his lightning trip to Al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq on Wednesday, Trump tweeted a video of him posing for photos with US troops, shaking their hands and signing mementos. In one scene, he is giving a thumbs up alongside a group of what appear to be special operations forces.

According to the pool report of the event, held in a dining hall at the base, a man called Kyu Lee told Trump he was the chaplain for SEAL Team Five. Lee recalled Trump telling him: "Hey, in that case, let’s take a picture."



While the president has broad authority to declassify information, so his tweet likely didn't run afoul of any rules, some observers called it a breach of operational security.

Revealing identities "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," Malcolm Nance, a former US Navy intelligence specialist told Newsweek.

Special Operations Command (SOCOM) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump also drew criticism in the US for repeating a previously debunked claim that he had secured military members a pay raise for the first time in 10 years, when in fact the Pentagon has increased pay each year.

In Iraq following the visit, pro-Iran lawmakers called for the government to expel US forces.

(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
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