President Obama’s “secret” weekend trip to Afghanistan ended up blowing a real secret wide open when the White House identified the country’s top spy in Kabul in an email distributed to thousands of journalists around the world.
According to numerous media reports, a White House list of U.S. officials who joined Obama for a meeting Sunday at Bagram Air Field – the main American base in the country – included the CIA’s station chief in Kabul, helpfully identified by name and the title “chief of station.” (That would tip off any intelligence professional, journalist or paperback spy novel fan.) The list was emailed to at least 6,000 journalists working for American and foreign news organizations.
To make matters worse, when Washington Post Bureau White House Bureau Chief Scott Wilson noticed the inclusion and asked whether such a sensitive name should be publicly distributed, the White House ineptly tried to fix it by sending out a revised list with the name and incriminating job title omitted, according to the Post.
Brilliant. Any terrorist group that suspected they had gotten the identity of the top American espionage officer in Kabul would immediately be thrown off by the fact that his name was left off the updated list.
The Washington Post, the Washington Times and other organizations reporting on the goof have omitted the intelligence officers name. Now, the White House, CIA and a certain top spy in Kabul just have to hope the other 6,000 journalists around the world will keep their mouths shut too.
Twitter postings haven’t been kind.
Could be worse. The CIA agent the Obama Administration outed could have been a station chief in one of the world’s most dangerous countries.
— SunnyRight (@sunnyright) May 26, 2014
Can’t wait until tomorrow, when @barackobama learns from the morning news about his Afghanistan CIA station chief being outed. #NoOneAngrier
— Phineas Fahrquar (@irishspy) May 26, 2014
Obama WH just outed a CIA station chief in Afghanistan to an entire press list. Plame’s job was hardly dangerous. Who goes to prison now?
— Kerry Picket (@KerryPicket) May 26, 2014
Who need Wikileaks? MT “@rajivwashpost: White House breaks protocol & publicly identifies name of Kabul #CIA station chief 2 pool reporters”
— CIA Spy Girl (@CIAspygirl) May 25, 2014
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