10:44 GMT +322 September 2019
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    US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018

    Trump Accidentally Reveals Secret SEAL Unit During Visit to Iraq

    © AFP 2019 / SAUL LOEB
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    On Wednesday, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump made a surprise visit to Iraq to meet US servicemen stationed at the Ayn al-Asad Air Base. During the visit, Trump told reporters that he has no plans to withdraw US troops from Iraq, which he said could be used to attack the Daesh* terrorist group.

    President Donald Trump has accidentally revealed typically secret details of a covert special operations unit after he posted a video on Twitter showing him talking and taking selfies with what appeared to be members of a US Navy SEALs team during his unannounced trip to Baghdad, Newsweek reports.

    In the video, the special warfare forces are seen dressed in full battle gear and wearing night vision goggles.

    Malcolm Nance, a former US Navy intelligence specialist with experience in Iraq told Newsweek that "the real names, faces and identities of personnel involved in special operations or activities are usually a closely held secret in a combat zone."

    READ MORE: US Reportedly to Open New Bases in Iraq, Despite Local Authorities' Opposition

    "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," Nance stressed.

    Newsweek also cited a Pentagon official as saying, on condition of anonymity, that it was unusual to post a video revealing special ops troops' faces without blurring or censoring them. 

    "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," the official noted.

    READ MORE: Explosions Heard Near US Embassy in Iraq After Trump's Visit — Reports

    He admitted that he does not recall "another time where special operation forces had to pose with their faces visible while serving in a war zone."

    His comments came after aviation enthusiasts managed to track Air Force One on its secret flight to Iraq, posting pictures of the distinctive blue and white Boeing jet flying over England on their Twitter accounts.

    WikiLeaks, in turn, posted a map of the route the jet was taking, tweeting, in particular, that the plane's transponders were either changed or disabled near Romania.

    Earlier, NBC News quoted Trump as saying that when he was en route to Baghdad, he had concerns for "the institution of the presidency" and the first lady.

    "But if you would have seen what we had to go through, with the darkened plane with all windows closed, with no lights on whatsoever, anywhere, pitch black, I’ve never seen that, been on many airplanes, all types and shapes and sizes, I’ve never seen anything like it," Trump noted.

    READ MORE: Trump Tells Abadi US Carrying Out Military Buildup of Forces in Iraq

    On December 26, he and First Lady Melania Trump made a surprise visit to Iraq to meet US servicemen stationed at the Ayn al-Asad Air Base, where he told reporters that he has "no plans at all" to withdraw US troops from Iraq. The visit marked the first time Trump visited a war zone since becoming president.


    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State) is a terrorist group banned in Russia and a number of other countries. 

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    Tags:
    experience, servicemen, video, government, visit, Navy SEAL, Melania Trump, Donald Trump, Iraq, United States
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