The accidental disclosure Monday of the identity of the top CIA agent in Afghanistan is an ongoing sore spot with the nation’s spies and military. It is an unforgivable rookie mistake made by a notoriously loose-mouth White House that could easily cost American lives.
The foul-up could affect operations in that country or even target the entire unit for assassination by the Taliban. "It looks like a rookie mistake, but it's in year six of the administration," said an angry retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden. He had been responsible for directing both the CIA and the National Security Agency. "It's a bit stunning. You would never expect to see that in material that's been made public," he told Newsmax.
It gets worse. Former House Intelligence Chairman Pete Hoekstra said candidly the named CIA agent "... is now compromised. I just classify this as a major blunder by the Obama White House national security staff. I do not know how long this person has been in Kabul, but they're not going to be there for long. They'll probably be moved within a couple of days."
That would be the understatement of the year. Intelligence officials across the globe are exasperated with the Obama White House leaks. Unlike past administrations, it seems those responsible for national secrets are not familiar with intelligence decorum and act like school children with top secret information.
Among those speaking to the press, Bob Baer, a retired CIA agent, told CNN that administration officials are "... going to have to pull him out now that he's been identified publicly. The Taliban probably didn't know his name before, but they will now. They will focus on attempting to assassinate him, and I think it is just a matter of fact that they will pull him out of Afghanistan."
The CIA official's name was included in an email sent to thousands of journalists during President Barack Obama's surprise Memorial Day trip to Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. How could that happen?
The name was accidentally sent to a reporter for The Washington Post, among many others in the “press pool.” The list of those receiving the message could be as high as 6,000 recipients. Obviously the name has now been withheld since the revelation could endanger that person’s life and that of the family.
But leave it to Google. By inserting the revealed name, there is a host of information including the officer's wife and other personal details.
The White House officials only realized their error when Washington Post White House bureau chief Scott Wilson notified them. A new list was sent out without the station chief's name. The White House did not recognize the CIA name on at least two occasions before making the list public.
Furthermore, it is interesting to see the overall reaction to the story. Crickets and sagebrush make more noise than the mainstream media. They wouldn't let the outing of CIA agent Valerie Blume die for six months during the Bush administration. The person responsible for that spent time in prison. This time around, virtual silence.
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