The White House blows top CIA official cover in Afghanistan
The White House inadvertently included the name of the top CIA official in Afghanistan on a list of participants in a military briefing with President Barack Obama that was distributed to reporters yesterday, the Washington Post reported.
The newspaper said the official, identified as "Chief of Station" in Kabul, was named as being among those at a briefing with Obama during the president's trip to Bagram Air Base near the Afghan capital.
The list of names was sent by email to reporters traveling with Obama on his surprise Afghanistan visit and included in a "pool report" shared with correspondents and others not on the trip.
The Post said the White House issued a revised list deleting the CIA official's name after it recognized the mistake.
The newspaper said its White House bureau chief, Scott Wilson, who was on the trip, copied the original list from the email provided by White House press officials and included it in a report sent to a distribution list with over 6,000 recipients.
After he spotted the reference to the station chief, Wilson asked White House press officials in Afghanistan if they had intended to include that name, the Post said.
"Initially, the press office raised no objection, apparently because military officials had provided the list to distribute to news organizations," the Post added. "But senior White House officials realized the mistake and scrambled to issue an updated list without the CIA officer's name."
The newspaper said it withheld the individual's name at the request of the Obama administration, which warned he and his family could be at risk if his name were circulated.
A review of the pool reports from the trip shows that the name was taken out of an updated list sent to reporters. Reuters is also withholding the name from this article.
The Post said it was not clear if the CIA would now be forced to remove the officer from Afghanistan.
The White House declined to comment.