White House blows CIA station chief’s cover

 

The White House accidentally revealed the identity of the top CIA agent in Afghanistan on Saturday.

The Kabul station chief’s name was initially included on a list of more than two dozen people meeting with President Obama during his short visit to Bagram Airfield in the country on Saturday. The CIA agent was identified as “chief of station” in an email sent to reporters covering the White House as part of a routine pool report.

ADVERTISEMENT
A revised version was sent shortly afterward that did not include the chief’s name.

The Hill is withholding the officer’s name at the request of the Obama administration, which said that identifying the agent could make him or her a terrorist target.

Both the White House and CIA declined to comment.

The agent’s identification would be a rare slip-up in the secretive world of covert operations. The other recent instance of a CIA agent being identified by their own government was Valerie Plame, a former operative outed by the George W. Bush administration.

The slip-up was previously noted by The Washington Post, whose White House reporter Scott Wilson filed the original pool report.

Wilson told the Post that the list of people meeting with the president had been provided by the White House. Shortly after sending his report to the White House press office, which distributed it to more than 6,000 journalists, he mentioned the unusual inclusion of the station’s chief identity.

That did not raise immediate alarms, but a new report was sent out about an hour later, after top White House officials realized the mistake.