Deployment Details Put Sarah Palin's Son in Jeopardy

Thursday, September 04, 2008 at 09:37 AM

Back in February, the British press ripped Matt Drudge for revealing a secret they'd been keeping: Prince Harry was stationed in Afghanistan, deployed with the British Army in Helmand Province. The secret had gotten out in an obscure Australian magazine and German's Bild newspaper, and Drudge passed the news along to his audience of millions. Brits were so outraged that they mistakenly started sending me a flood of hate mail. Given this, it's worth noting that the British press is now putting another high-profile soldier in danger by reporting details of his service in a war zone.

Two major British newspapers have reported where Track Palin, the son of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, will be serving when he's deployed to Iraq.

The Times:

Track Palin, son of the potential US vice-president, will be heading for the Middle East next week to prepare for military service in one of the most dangerous corners of Iraq.

A year after enlisting in the US Army on the sixth anniversary of 9/11, Private First Class Palin will fly to Kuwait next Thursday for acclimatisation, and will be deployed a few weeks later to an area of Diyala province teeming with al-Qaeda insurgents.

It will not be an easy tour for the 19-year old, who is assigned to 1-1 Bravo Company, 52nd Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

The Daily Mail also told its readers that Palin will train in Kuwait and serve in Diyala.

I'd omit these details if the stories weren't already widely reprinted all over the web and in news syndication, showing up on places like Yahoo News and Lucianne.Com. Jon Soltz, an Army captain previously stationed in Iraq, writes that revealing specific details of a soldier's deployment, such as dates and locations, is a violation of operational security:

It is simply impossible that any reporter could figure this out on their own. Just by knowing Track's name and the date he is heading to Kuwait, one could not figure out specifically where Track and his company would be going in Iraq. There's a reason it's impossible to figure that out -- because the military doesn't want that information out there. It only serves to aid the enemy to know where are troops are moving. ...

If the McCain-Palin campaign has disclosed details about Track's company's movements to gain stories in the press about it, they will have put many American lives in danger -- not the least of which would be Track's.

The amount of detail in the Daily Mail suggests that someone close to the Palins revealed the information about Track's deployment, but it's filed by reporter Tim Albone from Combat Outpost Zaganiyah in Diyala Province, so it's possible that a military source in Iraq revealed these details. In any case, it seems to me that whoever did it painted a target on his back, and the military should adjust its plans accordingly.