President Obama made what was meant to be a secret trip to Kabul this week to sign a post-war agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. However news that Air Force One had touched down in Afghanistan was tweeted by a local Afghan news agency. The trip was intended to be kept secret for obvious security reasons, although once something is said on Twitter it is very hard to contain it.
The first American media organisation to make mention of the visit was The Huffington Post, with Joshua Hersh posting the following update:
In reaction to this the US Embassy in Kabul tweeted to denial TOLO’s report, saying that any news of President Obama being in Afghanistan was false. However, Joshua Hersh wasn’t prepared to let this story go as he posted more updates questioning whether or not Obama was in Kabul, and also referenced the fact that all roads leading to the US Embassy there were blocked.
Eventually the story was broken by The Associated Press who were able to confirm the purpose of the trip:
While in this case it was not the US government nor military who let the cat out of the bag, it does serve as a timely reminder that when things are said on any open forum they no longer remain secret and it can be a mad scramble to limit the potential damage. When dealing with anything even remotely sensitive or secret then using a method of private sharing would be advisable.