A list of 15 senior US officials, first provided to journalists traveling with Obama and then forwarded to other reporters on the White House mailing list, included the “Chief of Station” in Kabul for joining a military briefing with the president at Bagram air base north of the city, Xinhua reported.
A Washington Post reporter, who filed and sent by the White House the list to the so-called “pool report” recipients as many as 6,000, noticed and alerted White House press officials about the error.
“Initially, the press office raised no objection, apparently because military officials had provided the list to distribute to news organisations,” the newspaper reported Monday, noting “Chief of Station” is a designation used by the CIA for its highest-ranking spy in a country.
“But senior White House officials realised the mistake and scrambled to issue an updated list without the CIA officer’s name,” the paper said.
The Obama administration had requested major news outlets to withhold the officer’s name, warning he and his family could be at risk if his name was published.
Officials of the George W. Bush administration intentionally exposed CIA operative Valerie Plame in 2003 in an effort to discredit her husband, a former ambassador who opposed fiercely the decision to invade Iraq.