Trump accidentally outs top-secret SEAL team identities
Shortly after his first visit to US troops stationed in a war zone, US President Donald Trump posted a video on Twitter that showed him posing for pictures with service members who appear to be from SEAL Team Five in Iraq - without shielding their faces.
Mr Trump, who had taken criticism for not visiting US forces in hot zones, travelled with the first lady to the al-Asad Airbase near Baghdad, where he mingled with troops, signed MAGA hats and defended his decision to pull out of Syria.
But during the trip, which had been shrouded in secrecy earlier on Wednesday, the president apparently accidentally revealed classified information by showing the special-ops forces, the New York Post reported.
This masthead has chosen not to republish the soldiers' identities.
According to a pool report, details of Mr Trump's visit were embargoed until he finished addressing a group of 100 mostly elite members of the highly secretive unit engaged in combat operations in Iraq and Syria.
At one point, Mr 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 chaplain said the US president told him: "Hey, in that case, let's take a picture."
After Air Force One left the country's airspace, Mr Trump posted a video in which Lee Greenwood's God Bless America is heard as he and Melania Trump posed for pictures with the special warfare operators clad in full battle gear and night-vision goggles.
Malcolm Nance, a former US Navy intelligence specialist, told Newsweek that posting the video ran against traditional procedures that are meant to protect the identities of US special operations forces in a combat zone.
"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," Mr Nance 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."
Contacted by Newsweek, the Pentagon referred questions to the White House, whose reps did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.
The Naval Special Warfare Command also did not return a request for comment from Newsweek.
ANGRY IRAQI POLITICIANS TELL TRUMP TO GET OUT
Iraqi politicians have demanded US forces leave the country following Mr Trump's surprise visit which has been denounced as arrogant and a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.
Politicians from both blocs of Iraq's divided parliament on Thursday called for a vote to expel US troops and promised to schedule an extraordinary session to debate the matter.
"Parliament must clearly and urgently express its view about the ongoing American violations of Iraqi sovereignty," said Salam al-Shimiri.
Mr Trump, making his first presidential visit to troops in a troubled region, said he has no plans to withdraw the 5200 US forces in the country.
Containing foreign influence has become a hot-button issue in a year that saw al-Sadr supporters win the largest share of votes in May elections. Al-Sadr has called for curbing US and Iranian involvement in Iraqi affairs.
US troops are stationed in Iraq as part of the coalition against the Islamic State group. American forces withdrew in 2011 after invading in 2003 but returned in 2014 at the invitation of the Iraqi government to help fight the jihadist group.
But after defeating IS militants in their last urban bastions last year, Iraqi politicians and militia leaders are speaking out against the continued presence of US forces in Iraqi soil.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and has been republished with permission.