President’s surprise trip to Afghanistan: how Twitter almost blew his cover


I originally read about this on Mashable

Usually when the president travels somewhere, the trip is known about in advance and his arrival is highly anticipated. Even when the president travels overseas, these visits are typically public knowledge. Today, President Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on the one year anniversary of Navy SEALS killing Osama bin Laden.

A journalist in Afghanistan reported having seen Air Force One and took to twitter. Soon, American journalists caught wind of this and started reporting of the unannounced visit. As Mashale noted, Josh Hirsch from Huffington Post was the first:

The American embassy in Afghanistan tried to dispell the rumors (although the rumors were true which would mean that the embassy was lying..)

But further reports from Afghanistan responded by insisting it was true and providing even more information of what he was being seen.

When George W. Bush made surprise trips to Iraq and Afghanistan, they were either prior to Twitter existing (or later in his term, where still prior to Twitter being popular and mainstream.)

For me, it will be very interesting to see how the Secret Service will deal with this on future “surprise” visits.

Could the Executive Surprise become a thing of the past?


Unless the Secret Service can borrow Wonder Woman’s invisible jet, they face a real challenge. Especially when a surprise visit from a sitting U.S. president is already a daunting task. As the world continues to become more connected through technology and thing like cell phones become more ubiquitous, premature leaks on clandestine trips could become the norm.

So if that happened, wouldn’t it just make more sense to announce all of these trips? Not necessarily. Even if the cover is blown once the president is already in another country, an individual who isn’t friendly towards America and who may have ill will for our leaders still wouldn’t necessarily be in the position to pose a threat.

If anything, I think it would make sense to do a “boy who cried wolf” by creating Twitter profiles in order to attempt to manufacture periodic rumors of surprise visits and lull the media to sleep so that they don’t report these stories.

But what do I know?

jrb

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