On Wednesday, as President Trump visited American troops stationed in Iraq at the al-Asad airbase, CNN took a shot at the troops who asked Trump to sign their “Make America Great Again” hats or their embroidered patches reading “Trump 2020.” The network discussed whether the service members might have violated Department of Defense guidelines against partisan political activities, and later implied on its website that the troops had indeed violated the rules. But CNN left out a key part of the guidelines when they quoted them.

On CNN’s “The Situation Room,” the network turned to a military expert to determine whether what the troops did was inappropriate. Shockingly, that military expert turned out to be none other than Retired Rear Adm. John Kirby, a former Obama administration spokesperson. Even more shockingly, Kirby theorized that the troops’ actions were indeed inappropriate, saying archly, “It is in fact a campaign slogan, that is a campaign item, and it is completely inappropriate for the troops to do this.”

The segment began with CNN’s Jim Acosta asking Kirby, “And John, what would the concern be if something like that is going on, do you think? Or is this just a soldier’s there, he’s got a hat in his locker, and he runs over and says, “Hey, when am I gonna have another chance for the president to sign one of these things?”

Kirby answered, “Yeah, look; it kind of blurs the line, because Trump is his slogan; where is that line? But Barb’s right; it is, in fact, a campaign slogan that is a campaign item, and it is completely inappropriate for the troops to do this.”

Acosta: “Not supposed to do it.”

Kirby: “Not supposed to do this and I’m sure that their bosses seeing that, they’re not going to be happy about it.” He then took a shot at Trump, snapping, “But look, the president has to take some ownership of this, too; every time he’s around military audiences, he tends to politicize it, and he brings in complaints and grievances from outside the realm of military policy. This was wrong for him to do it as well; I’m gonna be really interested to see, Jim, when we get video of his comments to the troops, his actual speech at al-Asad; I hope that he didn’t politicize that, those remarks but we’ll have to wait and see.””

CNN wrote on their website, “Video footage and the written report of Trump’s visit with service members in Iraq showed the President signing “Make America Great Again” hats and an embroidered patch that read “Trump 2020.” CNN then warned, “But troops’ requests for the autographs could brush up against Department of Defense guidelines for political activities.”

CNN noted that the Department of Defense guidelines state: “active duty personnel may not engage in partisan political activities and all military personnel should avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval, or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign, or cause.”

But here’s what CNN left out from the guidelines: “Active duty members may, however, express their personal opinions on political candidates and issues, make monetary contributions to a political campaign or organization, and attend political events as a spectator when not in uniform.”