“Loose Lips Sink Ships”

“Loose Lips Sink Ships”

© David Burton 2019

Loose Lips Sink Ships

     “Loose Lips Sink Ships” “This phrase was coined as a slogan during WWII as part of the US Office of War Information's attempt to limit the possibility of people inadvertently giving useful information to enemy spies. The slogan was actually 'Loose Lips Might Sink Ships. This was one of several similar slogans which all came under the campaigns basic message - 'Careless Talk Costs Lives' .” (Ref. 1)

     “US President Donald Trump once said the name of the dog which was injured when Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi blew himself up in a tunnel would remain classified. So much for that.
     “After Mr. Trump was needled by sections of the US media for tweeting an obviously faked photo of himself with the dog, he was unable to resist tweeting his response and revealing the name of the dog. [Emphasis mine]
     “{In a blatant violation of long-standing security protocols, the headline-seeking, thin-skinned president potentially exposed the identities of the dog’s handler and the Special Operations unit that tracked down the ISIS terrorist leader. Trump tweeted: } ‘The 'live' version of Conan will be leaving the Middle East for the White House sometime next week.’
     “Speculation about the dog's name had been rife since Mr. Trump revealed it played a key part in the mission that led to the death of Baghdadi.
     “The President refused to name Conan at the time, saying his name was ‘classified’. {But, being ‘classified’ meant nothing to Trump who had accused Hilary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign of violating national security by her use of a private email account that supposedly contained ‘classified’ material. Garnering publicity apparently means more to this President than observing national security rules and regulations! }
     “The reason {for not releasing the name of the dog} . . . was to protect the secret special forces unit Conan was attached to. Releasing his name could run the risk of identifying the dog's handler and other soldiers. [Emphasis mine]
     “Mr. Trump's decision to reveal the dog's name came after he was criticised for tweeting a fake photo of himself giving the animal the Medal of Honour.
     “The original photograph was from 2017, when Mr. Trump awarded a Medal of Honour to {a} retired US Army medic . . .” (Ref. 2)

     Simply being criticized in the media for faking a photograph was sufficient to cause the president to jeopardize the lives of the Special Operations troops who had taken part in the raid against the head of ISIS. It was also sufficient justification for his violating national security.

     Although the dog’s name had previously been reported in the media, security rules require that such information be “neither confirmed nor denied” until and unless the information is officially declassified. Some years ago, when I was working on a classified program under a Navy contract, I was contacted by the Navy’s program manager who informed me that some classified information about the program had appeared in the media. The program manager instructed me to “neither confirm nor deny” the information if I was contacted by any reporters seeking additional information about the program. This president feels he is above such restrictions, even if it puts lives at risk.


  1. The meaning and origin of the expression: Loose lips sink ships, The Phrase Finder, Accessed 31 October 2019.
  2. Donald Trump tweets previously classified name of 'hero' dog from Baghdadi raid, after photoshopped Medal of Honour image, abc.net.au, 31 October 2019.

  5 November 2019 {Article 384; Suggestions?_32}    
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