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Republican Congressman Broke Military Protocol, 'Endangered Troops'

First Posted: 04/15/08 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 01:30 PM ET

Mchenry Green Zone

Did Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) unwittingly give away information that made it easier for armed militias to target the Green Zone, in the deadliest attack on the fortification this year? That's precisely what Brandon Friedman of VetVoice accuses McHenry of doing, in what at the very least amounts to, he contends, a violation of "operational security (OPSEC)."

At issue is a video that McHenry made while in the Green Zone, describing an Easter Sunday attack.

McHENRY: Good morning. You see, right over my back here (points), there was a rocket attack this morning. According to our folks here, there were eleven rockets, uh, one hit just over my head, another hit a parking lot, and another hit the gym. Well, interestingly enough, I wasn't able to get into the gym this morning because I didn't have an ID that was appropriate. And so I was escorted back to the room and just a few minutes later, that's when the rocket attacks occurred. So, uh, small wonders. . .what a small blessing. . .a big blessing on Easter Sunday morning. So, thanks so much.

"Only two days after McHenry promoted a video of himself in the Green Zone describing in detail the effectiveness of the rocket attacks on Easter Sunday," Friedman notes, "the area was hit with a barrage that killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded 17 others." Friedman goes on to assert, "The bottom line is that whoever launched that strike could take the information McHenry provided and use it to kill Americans in the Green Zone."

Friedman is far from alone in his concern:

On Saturday, I communicated with one military officer currently in the Green Zone who stated that this was "undoubtedly a violation of OPSEC." On Sunday evening, I spoke with a senior intelligence official in Washington who seemed dumbfounded by McHenry's remarks. Asked whether he considered this a breach of operations security, the official shouted over the phone at me, "Of course! He's helping to dial them in." He meant the people firing the rockets.

Friedman notes the "rich irony" of the situation, as McHenry had previously lambasted an ABC News report "on CIA covert activities against Iran." At the time, McHenry asked for the House Oversight Committee to open an inquiry into how sensitive information got leaked to ABC.

Earlier this year, McHenry endorsed John McCain, just a month after suggesting to House colleagues that conservatives were justifed in feeling "physically ill at the prospects of a President McCain." One wonders if it is not appropriate to feel the same nausea at the prospect of a Representative Patrick McHenry.

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