Trump accidentally reveals location and identities of US Navy Seals in Iraq

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit troops in Iraq on Wednesday

The rumors even reached the White House, prompting the pool reporter to note that there was not a Marine stationed outside of the West Wing.

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greet military personnel at the dining facility during an unannounced visit to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq December 26, 2018.

For the visit, which was unscheduled, Melania broke first lady precedent by travelling to an active combat zone. Trump's defense secretary resigned last week after the Syria troop decision, writing in a departure letter the President deserved a military chief more aligned with his worldview.

Trump left behind a slate of troubles in Washington, including a partial government shutdown and an unsteady economy. With secrecy typical of such presidential visits, the president's plane flew into Iraq on Wednesday with lights out and shutters drawn, coming overnight from Washington.

The Defense Department has declined to offer details about the timing of the Syria withdrawal or whether the air campaign against the Islamic State in that country will continue apace. The Pentagon is also said to be developing plans to withdraw up to half of the 14,000 American troops still serving in Afghanistan.

In late March, Trump said that the United States would "very soon" withdraw its troops from Syria, though the Trump administration later explained that it would be keeping forces in Syria until Daesh is defeated.

Still, worries about an Islamic State comeback are pervasive. The group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, hasn't been caught and is presumed to be alive.

"Operational security is the most important aspect of personnel deployments".

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The group has still been able to mount low-level bombings and attacks, largely outside major cities.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi recently said Iraqi troops could deploy into Syria to protect Iraq from threats across its borders.

Left-wing Salon.com, for example, reported initially that Trump had failed to visit the troops during Christmastime, then changed its story and headline, but retained the anti-Trump spin.

In a statement, it said: "A disagremeent over how to conduct the meeting led to the meeting being replaced by a telephone conversation".

Mr. Trump spent three hours at a USA air base meeting with American troops on an unannounced visit Wednesday.

"Dealing with Iraq and its sovereignty in this way will harm the Iraqi-US relations, and the countries of the region and the world should know that a strong and sovereign Iraq is in the interests of security and stability in the region and the world".

"It's time to get our young people out", Trump said. Pence met with Afghan leaders and visited with US troops stationed in the country.

Thousands more returned four years later to battle ISIS.

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