The hilarious Twitter debate over POTUS' Iraq trip video

Phil Briggs
December 27, 2018 - 9:59 am

Associated Press photo by REUTERS Jonathan Ernst

Did the video President Trump recently tweet violate operational security? Did it endanger Special Operators in Iraq? Do SEAL Teams wear Kevlar and NVG’s to the chow hall?

The debate is heating up on Twitter.

On Wednesday Newsweek reported, “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."

Newsweek writer James LaPorta’s article described how the video, which did not shield or blur the faces of special operations forces is a violation of Operational Security (OpSec).  And according to Department of Defense officials, “information regarding what units are deployed and where is almost always classified.”

The controversial video:

The President’s highly secretive trip to visit deployed troops included a meeting with Special Operation troops engaged in combat operations in Iraq and Syria. Accroding to Newsweek, media pool reports covering the trip said, “President Trump paused to take a selfie with U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Kyu Lee, who said he was the chaplain for SEAL Team Five, based out of Coronado, California. The chaplain said Trump told him: “Hey, in that case, let’s take a picture.”

Later when that picture along with other footage from the President’s trip was released into the Twittersphere, the subsequent Newsweek article ran the headline, “Donald Trump Twitter account video reveals covert US Navy SEAL deployment during Iraq visit.”

As you might imagine, the reaction was fast and wide ranging.

Former SEAL and acclaimed author Robert J O’Neill weighed in.

Which started an interesting discussion between LaPorta, a Marine veteran and O’Neil, a member of the famous SEAL Team that took out Osama Bin Laden.

The discussion even yielded an invitation to have a more thorough conversation in person. (BTW, we would love to attend the coffee shop where that goes down.)

Other interesting observations came from Politico’s Military Affairs Reporter, Wesley Morgan.

Our favorite tweet about this story comes from Marine combat veteran and current Task & Purpose Editor, Paul Szoldra, who asked, “Why dudes are wearing flak, Kevlar and NVG’s in the fucking chow hall?” And according to O’Neill, there is a perfectly good explanation.

While the OpSec debate may continue to catch fire in the twitterverse, it certainly didn’t burn out anyone’s sense of humor ... or respect for a fellow veteran.