Watchdog Group Demands Audit Over Unredacted Instagram Photo of US Troops
- October 25, 2023
Bill Pan, The Epoch Times
A government watchdog group is demanding answers as to why an uncensored photo featuring a group of likely American special operators deployed in Israel was posted to the White House’s official Instagram account, potentially compromising their identities.
“This is just the latest incident where a government official appears to be working at cross purposes with the United States’ avowed support of its ally Israel against the terrorist group Hamas,” nonpartisan group Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) said in a complaint filed on Tuesday with the Justice Department.
The revealing photo, taken in Israel, shows President Joe Biden shaking hands with U.S. military service members flanked by American and Israeli flags. The caption on the now-deleted Oct. 19 Instagram post read that the president “met with first responders to thank them for their bravery and the work they’re doing in response to the Hamas terrorist attacks.”
PPT, however, argued that this incident might not be a mere oversight, but could be the work of White House employees who have “strong anti-Israel views.”
“Given the recent revelations that there are federal employees who foster hostile feelings toward Israel and fervently disagree with the United States’ continued support of Israel … there is reason for concern that the subject Instagram post may have been made with the intent of aiding Hamas or its allies to the detriment of the United States,” it wrote.
“At minimum, the post contains information relating to the national defense of the United States that could be used to injure our national security,” it continued, arguing that Hamas and its allies now possibly have the identity of those soldiers who have been sent into Israel to combat them. “The photograph puts their current mission, and any possible future missions, at risk.”
PPT demanded that the DOJ launch an investigation that would, at least, find out how the photo made its way to the official White House Instagram account without any effort to obscure the service members’ identities.
“Even granting that this were merely an error in judgment, which we are not conceding, an investigation must be undertaken to determine why no one in the editorial approval chain had the requisite knowledge of the security restrictions or the perceptive capability to notice the obvious implications of revealing identifying characteristics of these military personnel.”