President Donald Trump exposed the faces of members of U.S. Navy SEAL Team 5 during his surprise trip to Iraq this week, and one expert said it could possibly put them in danger, NBC News reported.
During his post-Christmas visit to troops in Iraq, his first trip to a combat zone since he was sworn in last year, the president and first lady Melania Trump met with about 100 troops at a dining hall at the Al-Asad base west of Baghdad Wednesday.
U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kyu Lee told Trump he is the chaplain for SEAL Team 5. Lee later said Trump told him, "Hey, in that case, let’s take a picture."
Retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Malcolm Nance, an intelligence consultant for U.S. special operations forces, said by email that the presence of SEAL Team 5 members should not have been revealed.
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"The fact is they are a special operations force in a combat zone with a combat role," said Nance, who has also served as a counter-terrorism analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. "The reason their identities are protected is in case of capture."
The office of the secretary of defense said in a statement no rules were violated by the ensuing photos and video.