Before you go there: NO, President Trump did not pull a Hillary Clinton

I saw the same picture you did when President Trump tweeted about Iran’s failed satellite launch. The picture is pretty nice and detailed. It’s resolution appears to be much higher than commercial imagery, and more than a few people are accusing the President of releasing classified information, and in doing so, demonstrating disregard for our intelligence capabilities. I’m calling it now…it won’t be much longer until someone compares this to Hillary Clinton’s classified emails.

Except that it’s an apples to pawpaws comparison. The picture was likely part of an intelligence product. The black spot in the upper left was probably where the classification marking was located. Most likely this appeared in a product of some kind, and President Trump asked to release it at an unclassified level. Whether that is responsible or not isn’t much of a discussion, because as an original classification authority, President Trump is 100% authorized to declassify any intelligence he wants.

The Intelligence Community exists to serve national interests, and declassifying intelligence at a sooner than expected date is not unprecedented. Showing our enemies that we have knowledge of an event, a military buildup, or something else may advance our interests. In the case of Iran, it was probably intended to stave off Iranian accusations of US meddling. It’s also a high-level trolling event, where President Trump wishes Iran “good luck” in finding out what happened. Does he know something? Did he pay off someone? Or did he get lucky? If it causes a flurry of accusations about Americans inside the Iranian ranks…so much the better.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

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