White House launches another investigation of itself over Afghanistan CIA chief’s outing

posted at 9:21 pm on May 27, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

Check back with us in two years, dude:

The White House has launched an investigation into who is responsible for mistakenly outing the top U.S. spy in Afghanistan over the weekend.

Chief of Staff Denis McDonough has asked the White House counsel Neil Eggleston to look into what happened and report back to him with recommendations on “how the administration can improve processes and make sure something like this does not happen again,” according to White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.

The White House mistakenly outed the CIA’s top official in Afghanistan after President Obama slipped into Afghanistan over the weekend on a surprise trip to visit U.S. troops in the region.

A White House press aide passed along to the media the name of the CIA’s station chief in Kabul on a list of senior officials attending a military briefing for Obama during the trip. The aide reportedly received the list from the military.

As usual, this is just an investigation into how to not out major U.S. intelligence assets in dangerous countries in the future, and there is no indication anyone will pay any price for this particular, potentially life-threatening mishap. Commence the 7-step process, Carney! Tomorrow, we will have reached the “stop asking questions, we cannot possibly comment on an investigation in process” phase.

Valerie Plame was an everyday story for approximately 72 years, if I recall correctly. I predict there will be less interest in this story.

But what about Step 1, in which the White House is as mad as anyone about this revelation and found out about it from the news media, you ask? This White House does not disappoint:

The name appeared on a list of attendees requested by White House officials for the president’s visit to Bagram air base to mark Memorial Day, the national day of tribute to fallen service members. The list of 15 people was drawn up by the military, written into a routine press report and sent to Washington. The Obama press office then sent the list, unredacted, to the larger group.

The mistake did not come to light until the reporter who had filed from Afghanistan, the veteran Washington Post correspondent Scott Wilson, looked more closely at what he had sent and noticed the name and title.

“I drew it to their attention before they had noticed what had happened,” Wilson said on Monday, hours after returning from the 33-hour trip overseas.

“I asked the press official that was with us on the trip if they knew that the station chief had been identified in the list. That person said that they did not know that, but that because the list was provided by military, they assumed it was OK. By this time the list was out.

“Soon after, I think that they talked to their bosses, and realised that it was not OK. And they tried to figure out what to do about this, if there was a way to kind of un-ring the bell.”

Well, at least now we know they know how to release something in its unredacted form.

Exit comparison:

Update: “Nope, not taking questions on Syria either, silly reporters.”

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Madder than hell…get to the bottom of this

forest on May 27, 2014 at 9:26 PM

That only one of 6000 picked up on this not surprising.

Bmore on May 27, 2014 at 9:27 PM

Heads will roll.

Bigbullets on May 25, 2014 at 9:36 PM

ShainS on May 27, 2014 at 9:27 PM

It’s either incompetence, or a message. Neither is particularly confidence-inspiring.

BKeyser on May 27, 2014 at 9:27 PM

As soon as I saw this on the news, I was vewy VEWY ANGWY.

MistyLane on May 27, 2014 at 9:28 PM

Oh boy is obaMe going to be madder than hell when he reads about this in Fridays newspaper!

VegasRick on May 27, 2014 at 9:29 PM

I’m pretty sure this is Bush’s fault …

ShainS on May 27, 2014 at 9:31 PM

Chief of Staff Denis McDonough has asked the White House counsel Neil Eggleston to look into what happened and report back to him with recommendations on “how the administration can improve processes and make sure something like this does not happen again,” according to White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.

Can we get Steve instead? Please????!!!

KCB on May 27, 2014 at 9:31 PM

/Scooter Libby raises his hand

faraway on May 27, 2014 at 9:33 PM

Howinell does one “unring the bell”? Maybe this will work

Newtie and the Beauty on May 27, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Well y’know he just found out about it by reading it on the Internet like everybody else…

Skywise on May 27, 2014 at 9:36 PM

Not one smidgen will be found among the mountains of smidgens, not one.

texacalirose on May 27, 2014 at 9:38 PM

So, is the focus of the “investigation” WHY obama wanted this guy’s identity revealed? This was no MISTAKE.

Pork-Chop on May 27, 2014 at 9:38 PM

Well, at least now we know they know how to release something in its unredacted form.

They didn’t notice it because it served no political purpose to the Regime.

What they have been doing to other documents is not redaction, it’s doctoring. If something is blacked out for political purposes in a document subject to FOIA request or a subpoena, it’s doctoring, and it’s likely a crime.

forest on May 27, 2014 at 9:41 PM

“how the administration can improve processes and make sure something like this does not happen again,”

This will be the quote on Obama’s statue in D.C.

Of course, when the effort to build the Obama statue ends in epic failure, some bureaucrat will comment :
“how the administration can improve processes and make sure something like this does not happen again,”

MichaelGabriel on May 27, 2014 at 9:41 PM

Paging Sharyl Atkinnson….

KCB on May 27, 2014 at 9:42 PM

/Scooter Libby raises his hand

faraway on May 27, 2014 at 9:33 PM

/Richard Armitage demands a pardon and the expunging of his conviction and prison sentence …

Oh, wait!

ShainS on May 27, 2014 at 9:42 PM

The list of 15 people was drawn up by the military, written into a routine press report and sent to Washington.

I don’t see how the military would have put his name into the list. They would have only had the military component of the list. The State Department would have provided the station chief’s name since I am sure he worked for them over there.

And for no one at the WH to notice that f-up is one for the books. Who is the person who scrubs the list for inaccuracies? QA isn’t this admin’s strong suit, we all know that.

We all know that no heads will roll for this, can’t make the administration look bad…now can we.

Patriot Vet on May 27, 2014 at 9:42 PM

Heh, and after ‘exhaustive’ inquiry, exonerates itself :)

jimver on May 27, 2014 at 9:42 PM

Heads will roll.

Bigbullets

Eyes are rolling ….

BD57 on May 27, 2014 at 9:48 PM

Well it wasnt like the Bush administration. They did it on purpose. Obama’s was an honest mistake…MSM meme

jaywemm on May 27, 2014 at 9:51 PM

OK, who want’s to be that the Whitehouse doesn’t find so much as a smidgeon of… Well anything?

oscarwilde on May 27, 2014 at 9:53 PM

“How much truth do you need?” ~ President of U.S.A B.H.obama 2010

lel2007 on May 27, 2014 at 9:54 PM

The Dog Eater administration acted stupidly.

Bishop on May 27, 2014 at 9:55 PM

The Dog Eater administration acted stupidly.

Bishop on May 27, 2014 at 9:55 PM

Ha ha… fooled you… that aint no act…

oscarwilde on May 27, 2014 at 9:57 PM

Release the squirrels.

MichaelGabriel on May 27, 2014 at 9:58 PM

The Dog Eater administration acted stupidly.

Bishop on May 27, 2014 at 9:55 PM

The most open administration evah!

VegasRick on May 27, 2014 at 9:58 PM

So, is the focus of the “investigation” WHY obama wanted this guy’s identity revealed? This was no MISTAKE.

Pork-Chop on May 27, 2014 at 9:38 PM

I say hmmmm

faraway on May 27, 2014 at 10:00 PM

It was all just a mistake. Like all those Seal Team 6 members who died in that helicopter crash a week after killing Bin Laden.

JellyToast on May 27, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Typical Dog Eater person.

Bishop on May 27, 2014 at 10:04 PM

This White House has launched more internal probes than Jenna Jameson.

… :)

a5minmajor on May 27, 2014 at 10:09 PM

inaccuracies? QA isn’t this admin’s strong suit, we all know that.

We all know that no heads will roll for this, can’t make the administration look bad…now can we.

Patriot Vet on May 27, 2014 at 9:42 PM

Quality Job1 – Obama admin.

RickB on May 27, 2014 at 10:09 PM

Same old,er,stuff.

Mason on May 27, 2014 at 10:11 PM

Why assume this was an accident? The CIA pissed off the WH over the recent Benghazi leaks, and President Valjar just sent back a little payback. She’s very big on payback:

“After we win this election, it’s our turn. Payback time,” warned Valerie Jarrett, Mr. Obama’s longtime senior adviser. “Everyone not with us is against us, and they better be ready because we don’t forget. The ones who helped us will be rewarded, the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve. There is going to be hell to pay.”

bofh on May 27, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Valerie Plame was an everyday story for approximately 72 years, if I recall correctly. I predict there will be less interest in this story.

Wolf Blitzer was already trying to couch this as a simple error by the the Obama Administration – whereas the Bush Administration’s behavior outed a super-secret agent working on a clandestine project, from her desk in Washington.

Hill60 on May 27, 2014 at 10:13 PM

9,999,999,999 Obama scandals on the wall, 9,999,999,999 Obama scandals on the wall, take one down, pass it around, 10,000,000,000 Obama scandals on the wall….

oscarwilde on May 27, 2014 at 10:14 PM

And seriously…

mistakenly outing the top U.S. spy in Afghanistan over the weekend

You don’t get more ignorant or incompetent than this administration. High School cheerleading squads keep better secrets than this.

…What the hell does the Country need, to wake up and realize this man and his handlers are complete idiots?

Wow. Really? …”Whoops! Sorry Mr. Secret Squirrel-Dude..We TOTALLY told these Taliban guys who you are, and where they could find you. Heehee..Our Bad!”

…morons.

a5minmajor on May 27, 2014 at 10:15 PM

Not one smidgen will be found among the mountains of smidgens, not one.

texacalirose on May 27, 2014 at 9:38 PM

OK, who want’s to be that the Whitehouse doesn’t find so much as a smidgeon of… Well anything?

oscarwilde on May 27, 2014 at 9:53 PM

texacalirose on May 27, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Didn’t Crazy Uncle Joe Biden already do this when he “announced” the Military unit that killed Bin Laden??..Was there anything done?..:(

Dire Straits on May 27, 2014 at 10:24 PM

Not one smidgen will be found among the mountains of smidgens, not one.

texacalirose on May 27, 2014 at 9:38 PM

OK, who want’s to be that the Whitehouse doesn’t find so much as a smidgeon of… Well anything?

oscarwilde on May 27, 2014 at 9:53 PM

texacalirose on May 27, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Hey… How did you even find my smidgeon in all those mountains of smidgeons? ;P

oscarwilde on May 27, 2014 at 10:26 PM

Full disclosure. I was a member of Valerie Plame’s CT training class at the CIA. Every single member of our class was undercover. Valerie went a step further–she became a NOC aka Non Official Cover officer. That meant she had no diplomatic protection, unlike the COS in Kabul.

These two incidents are not at all comparable. The dissemination of the CIA Chief of Station’s name was simply a dumb, bureaucratic error. It appears that some lower level flunky at CENTCOM unwittingly included the name of the CIA’s top guy in Kabul on a list of people meeting with the President. The dummy probably did not understand that the designation, COS, stood for “Chief of Station.” As is typical of the amateurs operating at the White House, they put the name out there without realizing they were disclosing the name of an undercover officer.

But this was not a malicious act. This was pure stupidity. Does not make it right, but it is important to understand that this is a horse of a different color from what was done to Valerie Plame Wilson.

Valerie was outed by the Bush Administration in a deliberate effort to discredit her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson.

Valerie was not some dumb blond desk officer pretending to be an undercover officer. She was a Non Official Cover offer. She was working in a far more classified position than the COS in Kabul. The truth of what she was doing remains classified to this day.

She was exposed for one very simple reason–her husband, an expert on Iraq, blew the whistle on the lie that George W Bush was pushing about non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Fearing the credibility of Ambassador Wilson, the Bush team, led by Vice President Cheney and his Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby, pushed the mendacious meme that Valerie had sent her husband Africa to check out reports that Niger had sent uranium to Iraq.

The exposure of Valerie caused serious, significant intelligence damage. She was not working alone and the other CIA officers working under her were exposed as well. The American public does not know their names but the bad guys, our adversaries do.

Let’s be clear about one thing–exposing an undercover CIA officer, regardless of whether he is the CIA rep in Kabul or she is the CIA’s Chief of Operations for the Iraq Task Force, is a bad thing.

NQJohnson on May 27, 2014 at 10:53 PM

“If the obstructionist GOP hadn’t cut funding for Noticing Stuff training for White House press aides…”

One32ndHekawi on May 27, 2014 at 10:58 PM

I think Obama should switch jobs with the CIA agent he outed for at least four months. We might discover a President who is up to his job!

And we might reinvigorate the war against Al Qaeda.

flataffect on May 27, 2014 at 11:04 PM

The exposure of Valerie caused serious, significant intelligence damage.

NQJohnson on May 27, 2014 at 10:53 PM

You had me until this BS.

faraway on May 27, 2014 at 11:11 PM

NQJohnson

So “undercover” CIA personnel routinely work out of CIA HQ. Right? And get their picture spread all over Vanity Fair.

You actually believe your bullshit, or just mainline the Kool Aid powder.

GarandFan on May 27, 2014 at 11:48 PM

So, what news source did Obama learn this from?

RdLake on May 28, 2014 at 12:45 AM

Could it be something as simple as that the staff is populated by morons?

<em>What is the difference between the White House Staff, and a Troop of Boy Scouts?

The Boy Scouts have adult supervision!

Another Drew on May 28, 2014 at 12:48 AM

Hey… How did you even find my smidgeon in all those mountains of smidgeons? ;P

oscarwilde on May 27, 2014 at 10:26 PM

I released a homing smidgeon, one that fetches. ;o)

texacalirose on May 28, 2014 at 1:40 AM

That only one of 6000 [on our side] picked up on this [and then blabbed] is not surprising.

Bmore on May 27, 2014 at 9:27 PM

Plenty of foreign ops reading the email traffic almost certainly caught it.
There may have been others trying to sound an internal SOS, thinking that the slip-up would continue to go unnoticed and unpublicized, in the vain hope that the foreign ops would also miss it.

AesopFan on May 28, 2014 at 1:52 AM

International Arabian Horse Association in charge, again.

Kenosha Kid on May 28, 2014 at 3:04 AM

What’s the over/under on days until we hear, “It’s Bush’s fault.”?

Kenz on May 28, 2014 at 3:32 AM

NQJohnson on May 27, 2014 at 10:53 PM

Is this your first foray into comedy writing? If it is, you should continue.
I laughed so hard, I feel onto the floor. Woowwee!

You’re good!

avagreen on May 28, 2014 at 7:22 AM

Valerie went a step further–she became a NOC aka Non Official Cover officer. That meant she had no diplomatic protection, unlike the COS in Kabul.

NQJohnson on May 27, 2014 at 10:53 PM

Wondering why someone sitting at a desk in Langley and going to Georgetown cocktail parties would even need diplomatic protection.

Also wondering why some undercover “spy” who is so very concerned about security would run his mouth on Hot Air. Unless of course he’s not one.

Trafalgar on May 28, 2014 at 8:14 AM

Was this intelligence asset ever near a town in Libya called Benghazi? Since his life is now in peril, maybe he’s another supplying guns to rebels loose end. This is the Chicago way of leaving no witnesses behind.

Kissmygrits on May 28, 2014 at 8:27 AM

This is NOT ‘Checks & Balances’.

This administration violates both Constitution and Rule of Law, there is no accountability, and they make very little to hide it – UNDERSTOOD…

…Congress, however, needs to ‘grow a pair’ – they swore to uphold and defend the Constitution & Rule of Law, against enemies BOTH foreign AND DOMESTIC….and ‘unless it might cost you your job’ is not in the oath they took. If Congress actually had a back bone these last 6 years and had done their job things would be a LOT different right now.

easyt65 on May 28, 2014 at 8:40 AM

“Nothing to see here”…NO Accountablity….another ‘Donor’ appointed to ‘investigate’ another Obama administration ‘FUBAR’…

easyt65 on May 28, 2014 at 9:10 AM

If only Scooter Libby was a democrat. He would have avoided all the c_ _p that fell on him. Obama could ax murder someone on TV and the DOJ would be investigating for the next 20 years.

warmairfan on May 28, 2014 at 10:18 AM

May 2014: We will find those responsible and bring them to justice.

July 2014: There is not a smidgen of incompetence in the state department.

MSM: Obama is dreamy and so transparent.

jukin3 on May 28, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Valerie Plame – WMD expert at the CIA
A question for Valerie – What is monomethalhydrazine and where is it used? What is Aerozine 50 and where is it used?
Give you 30 seconds for answers from the WMD ‘expert’.

As for someone revealing classified information there are penalties that apply.
One I respect is the 10 years in an FCI and a $250,000 fine.

Missilengr on May 28, 2014 at 12:28 PM

The foxes are once again investigating their hens.

Schadenfreude on May 28, 2014 at 12:32 PM