Jared Kusher, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, traveled to Baghdad on April 4 to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
However, the Trump administration announced his arrival before he even landed, which is considered a security breach, notes The Associate Press.
Standard practice is to keep news of high-level visits to combat zones secret until after officials arrive to prevent them from becoming targets, The New York Times explains.
"It's been longstanding practice to strictly avoid announcing the visits of senior U.S. officials in advance of their travels to war zones," said George Little, a Pentagon and CIA press secretary for Leon Panetta. "The main reason is obvious. You want to avoid giving the enemy any information that could help them to target these delegations, especially in areas where the battle lines aren't clear on the map."
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Ari Fleischer, former President George W. Bush's White House press secretary, added: "The moment of vulnerability is, if they know you're coming, a surface-to-air missile going after the airplane. If you can diminish the time they know -- and by the time you're there, the whole thing is a flood of security agents -- it makes it almost impossible in theory for them to do anything bad."
Host countries also cooperate, making sure routes and buildings are secure.
Even the choice of plane is taken into consideration. In war zones, officials often fly the Air Force's heavy C-17 transport plane. This aircraft can take off and land quicker on shorter runways, which lessens the threat from surface-to-air missiles.
The media is also expected to cooperate. Reporters traveling with top leaders into conflict areas are required to keep such trips secret, as they have done during the past 15 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Presidents and Cabinet members of both parties have traveled frequently to those countries. However, that requirement becomes moot when the administration announces it prematurely, as in this case.
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The Trump White House admitted that the logistics of the trip were poorly handled.
Kushner, who has no diplomatic experience, was sent to Iraq to discuss with Prime Minister al-Abadi the fight against the Islamic State and whether the United States would leave troops in Iraq afterward.
He was accompanied by Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and homeland security adviser Thomas P. Bossert.
Kushner is scheduled to meet with officials from the United States-led military coalition and Iraq’s minister of defense.