White House Leaks CIA Chief Identity to Foreign Media by ‘Mistake’

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | May 27, 2014 9:49 AM EST

The White House failed to protect the identity of the CIA Chief in Afghanistan as it committed the "mistake" of revealing the name to news agencies.

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia May 26, 2014.

A list of senior U.S. officials taking part in the surprise visit of U.S. President Barack Obama with U.S. troops was given to news agencies. The primary list had the name of the CIA chief in Kabul. He was identified as the "Chief of Station" in Kabul. The highest-ranking CIA spy in a country is identified by the said designation. The White House was quick to realise the blunder and issued a revised list without the name of the CIA chief in Kabul.

This was an extremely rare incident when an overseas CIA officer's cover was blown by the government itself. The Washington Post came to know about the identity of the CIA chief. However, it decided to withhold his identity to honour the request of the Obama administration which cautioned the press that the security of the officer as well as his family could be compromised if the name was disclosed.

The list was emailed to journalists scheduled to accompany Mr Obama in his visit to Afghanistan. The list was also distributed as a part of the "Pool Report" which was sent to the news agencies who were not a part of the Obama. The list was even shared with foreign media. Washington Post White House bureau chief Scott Wilson filed the poor report after copying the list from the White House email. More than 6,000 people were sent emails along with the list. Wilson found it confusing to find the CIA chief's name in the list. However, he noticed the name after the list had been distributed. He asked White House officials if it had been intentionally included. Soon they worked on "correcting" the mistake. However, one may wonder if enough damage was already done to risk the officer's sake.

The only other recent example of such an act happened the George W Bush administration exposed former CIA operative Valerie Plame. It was done that time to discredit her husband who was strongly against the invasion of Iraq.

Neither the White House nor the CIA agreed to comment on this.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts / )
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia May 26, 2014.
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