Trump went into unusual detail

Of course he did.

President Donald Trump’s announcement of the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi revealed a slew of sensitive details about the secret military operation that could imperil future raids, special operations and intelligence, veterans fear.

Trump, who spoke for a full 48 minutes and took a series of questions at the White House, went into unusual detail about the mission inside hostile territory in Syria that he said he watched in real time “as though you were watching a movie.”

Among the most striking were his descriptions of how the Army Delta Force was inserted into the heavily fortified compound, breached its walls to avoid booby-trapped doors and pursued the terrorist kingpin into a network of tunnels, where he detonated his suicide vest, killing himself and three children. But considered especially egregious were Trump’s remarks about the number and route of the commando’s helicopters.

Which is especially galling when you remember he didn’t inform Pelosi and Schiff about the raid beforehand and cited the risk of “leaks” as his excuse.

Trump didn’t offer specifics about how the U.S. located Baghdadi. But he keyed in on the highly sensitive discipline of signals intelligence — or the remote monitoring of enemy communications — that struck several with deep experience as better left alone.

“These people are very smart, they’re not into cell phones anymore,” Trump said. “They’re not — they’re very technically brilliant. You know, they use the internet better than almost anybody in the world, perhaps other than Donald Trump. But they use the internet incredibly well.”

“Why mention it?” asked Nagata. “It could contribute to a reverse engineering of our intelligence methods by the adversary, and if there’s any possibility of that, why do it?”

Because it’s an opportunity to show off, that’s why. Donald Trump never turns down an opportunity to show off.

Finally, when the helicopters carrying the commandos and their haul took off, they “took an identical route” back to friendly territory, Trump revealed.

That detail bothered the former military officials more than any of the others. “That’s the most worrisome,” said Nagata. “The force is vulnerable throughout the operation, but arrival and departure by helicopter are very dangerous. For me, the idea that anyone would talk publicly about how we did the most dangerous part of the operation — the risks far outweigh the storytelling value.”

“I don’t know why the f— he would say that, honestly,” fumed the other former special operations commander. “If we’re doing the same approaches and egresses, that can get helicopters shot down. It’s happened in Afghanistan.”

Why would he say that? Because it’s something to say. Because it’s a chance to show off. Because the storytelling value accrues to him and the risks accrue to other people, so obviously the choice is simple.

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