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Washington Post Accidentally Published Mattis’ Number, But It’s The White House’s Fault
On Monday, The Washington Post disclosed to readers that it had accidentally published Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ private cell phone number in a story on Friday. Thanks to a reader with a good eye, the newspaper realized its mistake and removed the photo capturing the number.
“How irresponsible!” you might think. Mattis’ private cell phone number is highly sensitive information and probably quite valuable to our adversaries. How could the media be so stupid? How did they get it in the first place?
Well the credit for that goes to President Donald Trump’s personal bodyguard, Keith Schiller, the director of Oval Office Operations. Here’s what happened, as recounted by Post reporter Rachel Manteuffel.
On May 11, the newspaper published a story online about Schiller, the man sent to hand-deliver the letter to FBI director James Comey informing him that he was terminated. The original photo accompanying the article showed Trump and the bodyguard strolling along White House grounds, with Schiller carrying a pile of papers.
On Friday, a reader called the Post to report that in the photo was a sticky note with Mattis’ private cell phone number scrawled under “Jim, Mad Dog, Mattis.”
When Manteuffel enlarged the photo, she did indeed spot the sticky note, with some writing that may or may not have read, “Jim, Mad Dog, Mattis,” and a phone number that was legible. Still not confident it was actually Mattis’ number, she called — because why would White House security officials keep the phone numbers of the top leaders of the free world on pieces of scrap paper?
“I called. I got the voice mail. It was him,” Manteuffel wrote on Monday.
Once realizing that it had in fact really published Mattis’ number in a photo, the Post replaced it with one that didn’t reveal sensitive information.
There’s certainly an argument to make that one of the leading newspapers in the country should more diligently inspect its photos before publishing, but who would ever think that Trump's bodyguard, or any White House staff, would carry around that sort of information on a sticky note? That’s OPSEC 101.
Also, for the last time, Mattis doesn't like to be called Mad Dog, dammit.
Maybe the White House would benefit from some of those posters that cover the walls of DoD buildings reminding employees about smart security habits. Like this one:
OPSEC posterDoD poster
Or this bad boy:
Or maybe something a little more hard-hitting:
Courtesy of Operations Security Professionals Association
Amazingly, this isn’t even the biggest Trump administration leak reported today. I’ll just leave this here.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Schiller as a member of the Secret Service. (Updated 5/15/2017; 7:15 pm EST)
GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would back the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies that Washington fears may be under threat by Iran.
Worries about a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping lane at the entrance to the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents.
Tehran denies responsibility but the attacks, and similar ones in May, have further soured relations that have plummeted since Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark international nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018.
Trump has restored and extended U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. That has forced countries around the world to boycott Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
But in an interview with Time magazine, Trump, striking a different tone from some Republican lawmakers who have urged a military approach to Iran, said last week's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman had only a "very minor" impact so far.
Asked if he would consider military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons or to ensure the free flow of oil through the Gulf, Trump said: "I would certainly go over nuclear weapons and I would keep the other a question mark."
Minnesota Democratic Party staffer under fire for calling USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul a 'murder boat'
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday he is appalled by a state DFL Party staff member's tweet referring to the recently-launched USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul as a "murder boat."
"Certainly, the disrespect shown is beyond the pale," said Walz, who served in the Army National Guard.
William Davis, who has been the DFL Party's research director and deputy communications director, made the controversial comment in response to a tweet about the launch of a new Navy combat ship in Wisconsin: "But actually, I think it's gross they're using the name of our fine cities for a murder boat," Davis wrote on Twitter over the weekend.
'We are there to deter aggression' — Pompeo addressed CENTCOM on Iran mere moments before Shanahan announced his departure
TAMPA — Minutes before the Acting Secretary of Defense withdrew Tuesday from his confirmation process, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at MacDill Air Force Base about the need to coordinate "diplomatic and defense efforts'' to address rising tensions with Iran.
Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government's efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will "not to go forward with his confirmation process."
Trump said that Army Secretary Mark Esper will now serve as acting defense secretary.