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How a Semi-Retired Guy Cracked Trump's Iraq Visit

It all hinged on Alan Meloy looking out his window
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2018 6:00 PM CST

(Newser) – President Trump's Iraq visit was kept highly secret, except from a guy who happened to be looking out his window in a suburb of Sheffield, England, on Wednesday. "It was a lovely sunny morning," Alan Meloy tells the BBC. "I looked up and as soon as I saw it I thought, 'That's shiny.'" The aviation buff and semiretired IT specialist grabbed a camera, photographed the Boeing VC-25 with his birdwatching lens, and posted it online—inspiring other airplane enthusiasts to figure out what the plane was and where it was going, per the Guardian. "The internet had worked it out several hours before the White House formally confirmed the visit was taking place," Meloy writes in his Flickr posting.

All of this forced the White House to reveal Trump's Iraq visit ahead of time. It also contrasted with Trump's description of Air Force One's security as a marvel to behold: "If you would have seen what we had to go through in the darkened plane with all windows closed with no light anywhere," he says. "Pitch black. I've been on many airplanes … I've never seen anything like that." The photo likely didn't put Trump at risk, per the New York Times, but did prompt Meloy to wonder why Air Force One kept all the blinds down. "Well that made a big difference," he says. "And he's not seen Yorkshire." (See what Trump told US troops in Iraq about "suckers.")

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