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
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.
Manning: 35 yrs Kiriakou: 30 mos Snowden: public enemy WH press guy who outed Afgh CIA agent: uh we'll review process http://t.co/Td7Vsxa34C
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) May 27, 2014
Update: “Nope, not taking questions on Syria either, silly reporters.”