WASHINGTON: White House counsel Neil Eggleston will look into the incident involving the accidental release of the name of the CIA's top official in Afghanistan to thousands of journalists on Saturday.
The White House accidentally listed the CIA’s station chief in Afghanistan on a pool report provided to more than 6,000 reporters during President Barack Obama’s surprise trip to the country over Memorial Day Weekend.
"The chief of staff [Denis McDonough] 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," said a National Security Council spokesperson in a statement.
Most media outlets did not disclose the individual’s name, and the White House re-issued an edited version with the name no longer on it. Lists of people attending briefings with the president are commonly given to media, but members of intelligence agencies are usually not included.
White House bureau chief Scott Wilson of The Washington Post filed the pool report before realizing the inclusion of the intelligence official’s name. The Post reported that it’s "unclear whether the disclosure will force the CIA to pull the officer out of Afghanistan."
Reactions to the incident on Twitter were rampant, but journalists largely did not reveal the name of the officer, citing safety concerns.
On Monday, former CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson, whose cover was blown in 2003 while President George W. Bush was in office, tweeted the mistake was "astonishing."
Twitter users display shock about the White House's error:
Irony: @JohnKiriakou reveals CIA name that's never published, gets 30 months. White House reveals name that's published, "not catastrophic."— Col. Morris Davis (@ColMorrisDavis) May 26, 2014
White House breaks with protocol by publicly identifying name of CIA station chief in Kabul to pool reporters.— Rajiv Chandrasekaran (@rajivwashpost) May 25, 2014
Things go to hell w a malevolent amateur in charge "White House inadvertently identifies CIA chief in Kabul" http://t.co/DpzKd3jXQA— Tammy Bruce (@HeyTammyBruce) May 26, 2014