White House mistakenly leaks name of top spy in Afghanistan
6,000 journalists received the name of the CIA officer.
The White House mistakenly leaked the name of one of their top spies to nearly 6,000 journalists on Sunday.
The CIA officer's name was included on a press tip sheet that was given to the White House's pool reporter, who then forwarded the list to the entire press pool—about 6,000 email addresses.
The list contained the names of 15 people President Obama was scheduled to meet with during a visit to Bagram Airfield, a U.S. military base in Afghanistan. Mistakenly included was the name of the top U.S. spy in Kabul, identified on the list as the "Chief of Station."
Washington Post White House Bureau Chief Scott Wilson has been identified as the person who filed the pool report, although he told the Post that he copied the list from a White House press email.
A revised list with the spy's name removed was quickly distributed to the press pool, and White House officials asked the media outlets not to publish the officer's name for fear of harm to the officer and his family. It is unclear whether the officer will remain in Afghanistan.
The incident marks the fourth chief of station to have his identity leaked in recent years. Two CIA station chiefs in Pakistan were outed by the Pakistani media in 2011 in retaliation for U.S. raids in the area. Last year, another station chief in Pakistan was exposed by a Pakistani political party in protest of U.S. drone strikes.
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Relations between the U.S., Pakistan, and Afghanistan have been increasingly strained following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the death of Osama bin Laden. The Al-Qaeda leader was killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan on May 2, 2011.
The relationship between the countries was compared to a bad marriage by Cameron Munter, the U.S. ambassador in Pakistan.
"There is a certain amount of resilience built into the relationship, and I don't think it's going to collapse," he told NBC News after the November 2013 station chief leak.
"I just think it's going to be difficult. It's going to be like a bad marriage that continues."