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.
“I always get a little bit nervous when people without knowledge of operations start describing operations,” said Michael Nagata, a retired Army lieutenant general who was the senior special operations commander in the Middle East during the early stages of the anti-ISIS campaign. “It’s a good story, and I can understand the impulse to tell a good story. Telling it can have positive benefits. But the benefits are unpredictable and marginal, whereas the harm could be more substantial.”
Taken together, some of the details Trump revealed could help terrorist groups piece together new information about how U.S. counterterrorism forces gather intelligence and execute such dangerous missions, said veterans of previous operations.
“I’m surprised that he went into that level of granularity,” said a former senior military officer who has commanded troops in the region and like some others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive subject.