If there’s one thing that the general public knows about the CIA it’s that agents are to remain cloaked in secrecy. The White House mistakenly broke this rule of silence by outing a top official stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan to thousands of journalists Sunday (May 25).
The official, whose title is “Chief of Station,” was named in a register of people President Obama met with during his surprise trip to Afghanistan this past weekend. The list was distributed by a “pool reporter,” which is a journalist designated to disperse such information to the greater press. In this case, Scott Wilson, the White House bureau chief for the Washington Post, shared the information.
Wilson was emailed the names by a White House official who received them from the military. He copied and pasted the report into an email for distribution. Wilson noticed the breach after the list went out and alerted a White House official. A second list was sent out to the press a short time later, but the blunder already leaked to Twitter, minus the official’s name.
The POTUS warned the press that the lives of the official’s family members could be put in danger if the name is disclosed. So far the name has not been printed.
White House Counsel Neil Eggleston announced that a report will be developed “with recommendations” to ensure that “something like this doesn’t happen again.”
The last time a CIA member was exposed by a presidential administration was Valerie Plame in 2003.