US official confirms that Trump tweeted out a picture from a classified intelligence briefing

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US official confirms that Trump tweeted out a picture from a classified intelligence briefing

Trump Iran

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Donald Trump holds up a memorandum that reinstates sanctions on Iran after he announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room at the White House May 8, 2018 in Washington, DC.

  • A US official told CNBC that a photo of an Iranian launch pad that President Donald Trump tweeted Friday afternoon came from an intelligence briefing Trump received earlier that day.
  • "The United State of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir SLV Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran," Trump tweeted, and attached the photo. "I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One."
  • The photo raised immediate red flags among national-security experts.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A US official told CNBC on Friday that a photo of an Iranian launch pad that President Donald Trump tweeted out in the afternoon came from an intelligence briefing Trump received earlier in the day.

The picture was attached to a tweet in which Trump said the United States was not involved in the failure of an Iranian rocket launch on Thursday.

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"The United State of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir SLV Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran," Trump tweeted. "I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One."

Here's the photo Trump attached to the tweet:

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trump twitter iran launch site photo

Donald Trump/Twitter

Iran's rocket launch failed and blew up on the pad at a space center in Iran, an Iranian official said. A US official also confirmed the news.

Shortly after Trump made his statement, military and national-security experts began sounding the alarm that the president likely tweeted out classified intelligence.

"I think I just got flexed on by the president," David Schmerler, a leading expert on open source imagery analysis, told Business Insider of the image. Schmerler had spent hours the night before analyzing the widely available pictures of the failed launch, but was blown away by the quality of Trump's image.

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"I've never seen anything like this before," he said. "I know that [the US military has] amazing capabilities, but I don't know what this is."

Insider reached out to the White House and the National Security Council and asked for confirmation that the photo was of the Iranian launch pad; what the classification level of the photo was; and whether it was taken inside a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), at which photos are not permitted.

Neither immediately responded to the request for comment.

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