White House Photo Revealing Identities of Delta Force Soldiers Draws Complaint
- October 25, 2023
Incident could violate Espionage Act, PPT says
Government watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) has filed a complaint with the Department of Justice regarding a photo posted to the White House Instagram account on October 18. The photo, taken in Israel, showed President Biden meeting with operators of the U.S. Army’s elite “Delta Force” counterterrorism group. The photo was posted without obscuring the men’s faces and tattoos – a dangerous breach of security procedure and possibly a violation of the Espionage Act.
Due to the nature of the group’s various missions, the Department of Defense rarely even acknowledges that “Delta Force” exists. Members often do undercover work and depend on strict secrecy. Someone on the White House staff either didn’t know or disregarded rules against publishing operators’ images without blacking out or blurring distinguishing personal characteristics. After several hours and public outcry, the White House removed the photo and issued an apology. By then it had garnered more than 6,100 likes and had been viewed by many thousands more, compromising the operators’ safety and effectiveness.
The incident should be thoroughly investigated, given the dissent of some Biden administration personnel from the U.S.’s staunch support for Israel. Last week, a Department of Homeland Security employee was placed on leave after it was discovered she previously served as a spokeswoman for the Palestinian Liberation Organization and made numerous social media posts containing antisemitic and anti-Israel rhetoric—including posts that appear to celebrate and glorify the rape, abuse, and murder of more than 1,400 Israelis and dozens of American citizens. Also last week, a State Department official resigned his position with the agency to protest America’s Israel policy, and there are reports of a “mutiny brewing” inside the department. Moreover, the Administration’s special envoy to the Islamic Republic of Iran—itself a chief sponsor of Hamas—has been on “leave” for months “for allegedly mishandling classified materials.”
“Whoever posted the unredacted photo at best compromised mission effectiveness and, at worst, endangered the lives of some of our finest warriors,” said PPT Director Michael Chamberlain. “Given the opposition to supporting Israel from members of our own government, the Justice Department must investigate whether the incident is a violation of the Espionage Act. We owe that to the Delta operators who put their lives on the line protecting this country.”