September 9th, 2008
08:00 AM ET

Sarah Palin's son to Iraq – Security breach?

Track Palin during the Republican National Convention

Track Palin during the Republican National Convention

Mike Mount
CNN Pentagon Producer

There has been a bit of controversy over the deployment to Iraq of Track Palin, the son of Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

The question is whether or not the military leaked the information that his unit would be heading to Iraq in a few days.

In fact, a veterans group today even sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying there was a breach of operational security in the release of the information and demanded an investigation.

In fact, that veterans group is incorrect. The Department of Defense regularly announces unit deployments months in advance, as does the service itself as well as the unit. If you do your research on publically released information by the military anybody can figure out when and where a unit is being deployed.

In the case of Track Palin, there was no difference, the DoD announced in May of this year his unit, the 1st Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division, would be deploying to Iraq. It also announced the deployments of seven other units totaling 25,00 troops. Here is the announcement.

Army officials said Palin’s base had been planning for a deployment ceremony open to the public last month, well before his mother was announced as McCain’s running mate.

Sarah Palin has also spoken about her son’s deployment, down to the exact date he leaves, in speeches she has given since becoming the Republican VP nominee. The Army won’t even disclose that date.

This is a very unusual election season for all of the presidential candidates and their running mates. Three of the four have or will have their sons in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre reports the last time this happened was in WWII.

The bigger question as of late is what kind of security will these VIP sons of candidates get when in the theater of war.

The answer is no more than what is provided to all US troops. When VIPs volunteer for military service they are just like any other GI, according to the Pentagon.

Filed under: Iraq • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Allen

    Sarah Palin relentless references to her son's service in Iraq has become nothing more than a political talking point in her rambling speeches. The right has spewed so many lies that it wouldn't surprise me to find out that Track has been redeployed to a very safe post in Kuwait while she continues to brag about his dangerous mission.

    October 30, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  2. Polter

    What 'vetran's group' would this be?

    September 9, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  3. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    As a friend and relative of US military personnel, we understand that we are told what can be told without compromising security. That is all we are supposed to know. Sometimes deploy dates are known. Depending on the mission, sometimes they aren't. While overseas, sometimes I know where they are. Most times I have no clue. When I get emails from them, I am not told much of anything except jokes and that they are all right, I don't know until after it's over and they are back in the States what happened. Many times, I still am not privy to that because of the nature of the mission. And honestly, the less I know, the less I worry about them. I pray a lot. I have faith that they will return safely. And even when my friend didn't, I still knew he died in service to a cause he volunteered for over and over again. I trust that they are o.k. no matter what happens. It's how things have to be for me because I love these people who serve our nation. Children of elected officials are no different than the "normal" folk who serve.. However, if the media exposes their safety (as happened with Prince Harry) precautions need to be taken to protect the entire unit. Otherwise, they are simply volunteer soldiers who chose to sacrifice for our nation and should be left to do their jobs with gratitude, respect, and a warm welcome home just as any other soldier is.

    September 9, 2008 at 1:47 pm |
  4. Frieda


    September 9, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  5. Independent

    IS anybody else sick of hearing about SARAH PALIN??? It has been relentless for the 1.5 week...


    September 9, 2008 at 1:33 pm |
  6. Arthur Paul

    It appears clear the George Bush announcement today (9-9-08) that he is withdrawing 8,000 troops from Iraq was to make and influence news headlines. However, that will leave over 138,00+ there, and he will or deploy more to Afganistan. He justify's sending additional troops there to protect the Pakistan border, yet he can't succeed in protecting our borders. Does he believe he is the President of the world? Yet, he allows two of our border guards to sit in jail for doing their job. It's time he focuses on our problems in American. The buck never stops on his desk!

    September 9, 2008 at 1:31 pm |
  7. Deirdre

    If VIP sons receive the same treatment as everyone else, why is there an issue of knowing when Track is being deployed?

    September 9, 2008 at 12:05 pm |
  8. Melissa, Los Angeles

    I wonder if Track by chance becomes a casualty of this war, will his mother still view the war as God's task or will she finally see what the war really is – a sham.

    September 9, 2008 at 11:53 am |
  9. Kristen-University Park, PA

    Sorry but I really don't care when Palins son will deploy for Iraq. I know several people who are in Iraq now or have been since the start of this war. They don't get any special treatment and they do the same job as any child of a political figure. We have thousands of men an women sacrificing their lives over there. It should not be allowed to parade your child around for serving this country to help win yourself an election.

    Besides some of us are good and ready for our loved ones to come home and don't want anyone else deployed to Iraq. So I see that Palin is right with John McCain about not ending this war.

    September 9, 2008 at 10:58 am |
  10. Gloria

    I don't see this as an issue, but what I don't like is Palin often proudly telling voters in her speeches that her son is being deployed to Iraq. This has not been the case with McCain and Biden in re: to their sons. She sounds too "political" to me in this regard!!!

    September 9, 2008 at 10:55 am |
  11. William of Iowa

    An unconventional war – an unconventional enemy. Placing high profile targets such as the progeny of political leaders within units that will operate in a combat zone will endanger all members of the respective units. This should be considered by military leaders and if necessary reassign these soldiers to duty outside the combat theatre. This might be unsavory for young Track, but he would respect the safety of his comrades in arms.

    September 9, 2008 at 10:27 am |
  12. Pat

    I guess this shows you just how much Palin knows about security, procedures and protocol regarding her Nation and Military! A shock? NO This is only a ripple in the vast ocean of ignorance encompassing Sarah Palin. And just the beginning of the vast waves of inexperience that are about to wash up on the shores of Washington. She knows zero about leading a Nation and less bout leading it's people!

    I wish they'd send her to Iraq in place of her son so she could see first hand the devastation caused by the party she vows her allegiance to!

    September 9, 2008 at 9:58 am |
  13. Chuck

    Oh ya, Great qualities for the comander in chief of the Alaska National Guard! Anouncing the deployment of the Alsaka unit also! These dates are suppose to be a secret.

    I could not believe it when I heard her montion it the other day on TV at a rally!

    Another question. Can she be trusted with national securtiy information?

    September 9, 2008 at 9:39 am |
  14. Chuck

    Well, You think McCain would have told her about not mentioning dates or even that her son was going. McCain never mentioned the where abouts of his son when he was over there, so he know the importantance! Now he will have a big bulls eye on him seeing that everyone knows what he looks like also!

    She should have had enough common sence to realize it on her own also! Another example of country before family!

    September 9, 2008 at 9:32 am |
  15. Cindy

    I don't see that it matters that it was told that Track and his unit are going to Iraq. They didn't tell exactly where they would be in Iraq. It would be extremely hard for anyone to find him there even if they were looking.


    September 9, 2008 at 9:29 am |
  16. FRAN

    When will people realize the Democrats are running the smear campaign they accuse the Republicans of running? One of the oldest tricks in the political game book.

    September 9, 2008 at 9:23 am |
  17. dena

    I don't see a problem. doesn't she and mccain support the war?she should be so proud like so many other mothers that have children at war. every soldier in iraq is at risk. whats good for the goose is good for the gander. besides the surge is working.

    September 9, 2008 at 9:19 am |
  18. Fred Strawser

    In theatres of war does presence of sons/daughters of America's political leaders place others in jeopardy?

    Great Britain thought so.

    September 9, 2008 at 9:08 am |
  19. Alex

    There was going to be little chance that Track Palin's deployment to Iraq (or Afghanistan) was going to be kept a secret. It is now however, limiting the military's use of Track in any combat brigade. He'll need to be assigned somewhere in the Green Zone simply because members of Al Queda would love nothing more than to snatch him up and use him for propoganda. In short, he is now a security concern, and perhaps should be reassigned to somewhere like Germany.

    September 9, 2008 at 8:40 am |
  20. Annie Kate

    I hope that his deployment and stay in Iraq goes smoothly and he comes home safely, but the Army is right – no one, not even VIPs, should be treated any differently than anyone else. The soldiers are all in this together and have to be able to depend on their fellow soldiers to watch their back. Special treatment would inhibit that dynamic.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 9, 2008 at 8:19 am |
  21. JRSwank

    What the Pentagon says, and what the Pentagon is going to do, are two very different things. At least the British were honest about Prince Harry's being a danger to the rest of his unit by being a prime target. Our enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan are already salivating.

    September 9, 2008 at 8:15 am |

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