The White House has ordered an investigation into the blunder which saw the CIA’s Afghanistan station chief accidentally identified, an official said Tuesday.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said White House Counsel Neil Eggleston has been asked to examine the circumstances surrounding the gaffe over the weekend.
“The Chief of Staff 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,” Hayden said.
The agent’s name was revealed in a pool report sent out by a Washington Post reporter to journalists based on a list of officials provided by the White House who were taking part in a security briefing for President Barack Obama during his surprise weekend visit to Bagram Air Base.
The pool report is an eyewitness account of the president’s activities written by a pool reporter on behalf of his colleagues, sent out by the White House to thousands of journalists.
When the reporter realized what had happened, he notified senior White House officials and they provided a new list of officials for the pool report that was missing the name of the man revealed as “chief of station” in the earlier report.
Officials also asked reporters traveling to Afghanistan with Obama to withhold the CIA station’s chief’s name.
The name of top CIA agents in a country is usually not publicized to protect the officer and his family from possible terror attacks or repercussions.
However, the host country and most other top espionage services in the nation will know the identity of the official, as a matter of course.
In theory, it is a crime to intentionally expose the identity of a covert CIA officer.