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White House mistakenly reveals CIA official's name

By Ken Dilanian

AP Intelligence Writer

LAST UPDATED: 04:44 a.m. HST, May 27, 2014

WASHINGTON >> In an embarrassing flub, the Obama administration accidentally revealed the name of the CIA's top official in Afghanistan in an email to thousands of journalists during the president's surprise Memorial Day weekend trip to Bagram Air Field.

The officer's name -- identified as "chief of station" in Kabul -- was included by U.S. embassy staff on a list of 15 senior American officials who met with President Obama during the Saturday visit. The list was sent to a Washington Post reporter who was representing the news media, who then sent it out to the White House "press pool" list, which contains as many as 6,000 recipients.

The Associated Press is withholding the officer's name at the request of the Obama administration, who said its publication could put his life and those of his family members in danger. A Google search appears to reveal the name of the officer's wife and other personal details.

White House officials realized the error after the Post reporter notified them, and sent out a new list without the station chief's name. Other major news organizations, including the Post, also agreed not to publish the officer's name.

The reporter who distributes the pool report sends it to the White House to be checked for factual accuracy and then forwarded to the thousands of journalists on the email distribution list, so in this case the White House failed on at least two occasions to recognize that the CIA official's name was being revealed and circulated so broadly.

The intentional disclosure of the name of a "covered" operative is a crime under the U.S. Intelligence Identities Protection Act. A former CIA officer, John Kiriakou, was sentenced to 30 months in prison in January after pleading guilty to disclosing to a reporter the name of an undercover agency officer.

"I doubt anyone from the White House is going to be prosecuted over this," said Jessclyn Raddack, who represented Kiriakou. "It shows the continuing double standard over leaks."

In 2003, Valerie Plame was exposed as a CIA operative by officials of the George W. Bush administration in an effort to discredit her husband, a former ambassador who had criticized the decision to invade Iraq. A top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the case, and sentenced to 30 months in prison, though Bush commuted the prison sentence.

Members of the CIA's operations arm, called the National Clandestine Service, are typically given cover identities to protect both them and the sources they have recruited abroad. The station chief, who manages all CIA operations in the country, is often a senior officer whose true name is known to the host nation and other intelligence agencies. The term "station chief" is sensitive enough, however, that former officers usually are not allowed to use it in their resumes in connection with specific countries, even after their covers have been lifted.

Because the Afghanistan station chief is known to Afghan officials and lives in a heavily guarded compound, he may be able to continue in his job. In 2010, the CIA station chief in Pakistan, Jonathan Bank, was evacuated after local newspapers published his name in connection with a lawsuit, and he was threatened.

The disclosure didn't prevent Bank from landing another sensitive job: He became chief of the Iran operations division at CIA headquarters at Langley. He was removed from that post in March after CIA officials concluded he created a hostile work environment in the division. He has since been detailed to the Pentagon's intelligence arm.

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Ewaduffer wrote:
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
on May 26,2014 | 10:27AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
When the republicans do it, it's on purpose. When the Dems do it, it's incompetence.
on May 26,2014 | 04:31PM
loio wrote:
unless you're jesting, you need to learn more about what actually happened in the Valerie Plame case. she wasn't an operative, she was a Washington desk jockey. and Scooter Libby wasn't the one who "outed" her, it was incompetence on the part of Colin Powell and Richard Armitage, both of whom let Scooter Libby twist in the wind. but i agree ... this administration and Democrats generally are incompetent.
on May 26,2014 | 06:53PM
richierich wrote:
He must be a member of the Tea Party.
on May 26,2014 | 10:52AM
st1d wrote:
nicely played. first off, sacrifice a few in benghazi, then place the on site chief and staff in afghanistan on the bull's eye.

how's that for hope and change?

on May 26,2014 | 10:55AM
false wrote:
As this article says, "Google" and you'll find out, pictures and all.
on May 26,2014 | 10:57AM
Readitnow wrote:
Question: If the person was there and meeting with the President … wouldn't he have been photographed numerous times? So, wouldn't people question whom the person was anyway? What's in a name?
on May 26,2014 | 03:31PM
false wrote:
Did you bother to find out who they're talking about. What's in a name? Plenty in this case.
on May 26,2014 | 05:37PM
CaraKF wrote:
I guess it too late to recall that email
on May 26,2014 | 10:59AM
Readitnow wrote:
You mean a Nah! Nah! Nah! doesn't erase it anymore?
on May 26,2014 | 03:26PM
Graham wrote:
Will the Dems. and the media demand the person who made the mistake be identified and fired????
on May 26,2014 | 11:30AM
South76 wrote:
So what else is new with this administration? This country is run by a bunch of clowns.
on May 26,2014 | 12:33PM
cojef wrote:
They are all fresh from the college campuses and have had little or any private sector experience. Thus the lack of foresight.
on May 26,2014 | 04:01PM
Oahuan wrote:
I doubt it was a mistake. The Obama Administration is bound set to destroy the US.
on May 26,2014 | 12:35PM
HD36 wrote:
The CIA has given Karazai tens of millions of dollars over the last decade in plastic bags and cash filled back packs. He gives some of the money to fund drug lords and the Taliban. The same guys we're supposed to be fighting. Makes you wonder if the powers just wanted a prolonged, drawn out war so we'd have to spend more.
on May 26,2014 | 10:29PM
soundofreason wrote:
on May 27,2014 | 07:01AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
on May 26,2014 | 12:44PM
scuddrunner wrote:
Who's side is he on anyway?
on May 26,2014 | 01:35PM
soundofreason wrote:
Any side on any issue that will weaken the United States.
on May 27,2014 | 07:02AM
MizuInOz wrote:
"an embarrassing flub" - is actually an event that can be classified as treason. To disclose the identities of field operatives is classified as treasonable. Hmmm... I can just hear the WH saying, "Oops, we're so sorry. Hope you can find a safe house fast. We can't find anyone to come in a save your okole. Good luck." The embarrassing flub is that Barry and Michelle are still in the White House. The embarrassing flub is that "off mic" Obama has said how much he hates July 4th. The embarrassing flub is that no one vetted Barry before he was elected because no one wanted to be branded a racist. And no I am not a "tea partier" or Repulsivacan or a Democlap... I am someone who pays attention and doesn't count one the mainstream B S news to supply me with information. All you have to do is your own research, vet it and come to your own conclusions. Both parties are headed in the same direction. Remember that. It's same old pig with different makeup. Follow the money.
on May 26,2014 | 02:05PM
MizuInOz wrote:
I don't expect my last comment to be published. Too bad.
on May 26,2014 | 02:06PM
9ronboz wrote:
dumb & dumber says it all about this administration. watch .... no accountability as usual.
on May 26,2014 | 02:07PM
loio wrote:
exactly. plus, they have seriously flawed economic and societal policies.
on May 26,2014 | 06:54PM
false wrote:
This is what happens when you have kids that use the term "dude" in your administration.
on May 26,2014 | 02:36PM
cojef wrote:
You mean Czars, there were 16 at the start of Obama's administration back in 2009.
on May 26,2014 | 03:08PM
false wrote:
Then have the b@#&s to put them on television...
on May 26,2014 | 02:37PM
Brixac3 wrote:
While running for his first term: "He's an amateur." - Bill Clinton "He's not ready yet. Maybe in a few years." - John Kerry We put our faith in a man that had no prior executive experience. "I'm a Community Organizer." His political experience, prior to being elected president, included no legislative accomplishments, and amounted to just 7 years (which included running for office) as a "junior" senator from a city (Chicago) with a checkered past (4 recently prosecuted governors). His predecessor failed. People hated the other guy so much, they believed a good story without asking how is this new guy going to accomplish all that he is promising. As he failed to fulfill his promises and has made mistake after mistake, faithful followers made excuses for him. It's Congress's fault; it was his aides fault; it was the fault of an internet video; it was the computer subcontractor's fault; it was the IRS's fault; it is still the last administration's fault; it's the economy's fault; it was the tsunami in Japan; maybe we need to change the system; it's General Shinsaki's fault, etc. After 4 years of unfulfilled promises many gave up hope and didn't vote, but some (similar to a battered housewife) still chose to believe he'd change. After 5 years of covering for him, some in the AP are realizing that it is all too obvious that the King's new clothes (hope and change) were an illusory sales pitch that they wanted to believe. For good reason, the AP has been embarrassed to utter, what they've suspected. It's time to step back, and objectively take a look at his record with fresh eyes and open minds. In doing so, some might discern that Barrack has been exposed as a man with good intentions, but not ready for this job at the most critical time in our countries history. Disappointing
on May 26,2014 | 03:14PM
MizuInOz wrote:
From your comments, you have thought this through. Consider that Mr. Obama has signed over 950 Executive Orders since coming into office. The last eight sitting Presidents have not even signed 50 in total. I think Mr. Obama knows exactly what he is doing. Time will tell but unfortunately when the Executive Branch feels that it can ignore the Legislative Branch and do its "own thing" then we are in serious trouble. And that is what is happening.
on May 26,2014 | 03:31PM
loio wrote:
I don't think he has good intentions. He doesn't much like the Country, doesn't understand what made it great. He's a total snake opportunist ... AND an incompetent. But he's competent when he needs to be. If the function of the VA was to deal w/ LGBT or race issues or administer abortions, he'd be focusing on it like a laser beam.
on May 26,2014 | 06:56PM
HD36 wrote:
Is it some kind of secret that the CIA gave Karazai tens of millions in cash over the last decade in back packs and plastic bags? A lot of the money ended up in the hands of the Taliban and drug lords. The same guys we spend billions on fighting. Reminds me in some ways of Vietnam. We could have won years earlier, but some entities profited from a prolonged war.
on May 27,2014 | 06:31AM
Nalukai wrote:
Agree. This guy 'Obama' is clearly an amateur and unqualified. Period !
on May 26,2014 | 08:29PM
soundofreason wrote:
21 Blatant Lies Obama has Told you Directly to your Face


on May 27,2014 | 07:06AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
I think the persons responsible should be prosecuted just like Libby, incompetence or even ignorance of the law is not a valid defense. Perhaps Obama will then pardon them as Bush did for Libby. Anything less is a double standard.
on May 26,2014 | 04:06PM
loio wrote:
President Bush did NOT pardon Scooter Libby. In fact, his refusal to do so became a bone of contention between him and Vice President Cheney, who wanted him to.
on May 26,2014 | 06:58PM
McB0B wrote:
What astonishes me is the arrogance and disdain for others that become the hallmarks of this administration which, being kind, could be summed up in two words; boundless ineptitude. How many times does Daddy have to blow his check and come home broke before the family figures out he's never taking them to Disneyland like he promised?
on May 26,2014 | 05:16PM
RandolphW wrote:
As Hillary Clinton famously remarked, "What difference does it make anyway?" Her remark pretty much summed up the Obama Administration. Nothing new here.
on May 26,2014 | 05:44PM
HD36 wrote:
It's no secret to the Afghan president who the chief CIA officer was. For more than a decade the CIA has dropped off tens of millions in cash to Karzai in back packs and shopping bags. The funny thing is that a lot of the money went to drug lords and the Taliban, the same guys we're fighting. I can't figure out why you'd be giving tens of millions in cash, spending billions in military, to keep funding the same guys you're fighting. Oh well, we'll just have to trust the benevolent wisdom of the government.
on May 26,2014 | 07:12PM
CEI wrote:
Note to commenters: Criticism of little Barry and his administration will not be tolerated. Please get your collective minds right and help the various media outlets circle the wagons around Comrade Obama.
on May 26,2014 | 07:46PM
false wrote:
It wasn't a mistake. Obama is a bully who is forcing compliance with his Agenda.
on May 26,2014 | 09:17PM
DAGR81 wrote:
Promise him and Michelle the use of "Airforce 1" for 2 years if he resigns
on May 26,2014 | 09:28PM
st1d wrote:
but that would leave us with biden!
on May 26,2014 | 10:07PM
2NDC wrote:
The entire obama administration is a joke. Biggest tragedy here is that he was elected not once, but twice. I'm still wondering how many dead people voted for him in both elections.
on May 26,2014 | 11:52PM
inverse wrote:
Still wondering how many votes Cayetano would have had if not for voter suppression under the guise of not enough ballots at polling stations due to "math errors" by Na go.
on May 27,2014 | 06:22AM
palani wrote:
Twitter twits, led by the First Lady and our Twitter Diplomacy State Department.

The State Department’s Ridiculous Hashtag Diplomacy

on May 27,2014 | 06:35AM
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