Tuesday, May 27, 2014

White House "Blunder" Reveals CIA Assets In Afghanistan, Former CIA Chief Calls Disclosure "Stunning"

by JASmius

I don't wish to sound like a broken record - wait a minute, does anybody even recognize that reference anymore?  Let's start again.  I don't wish to sound like a scratched CD, but is any detrimental act committed by the Obama White House remotely "stunning" anymore?

The accidental disclosure of the identity of the top CIA agent in Afghanistan by the Obama administration could affect operations in that country — even target the entire unit for assassination by the Taliban, political operatives said Monday.

"It looks like a rookie mistake, but it's in year six of the administration," retired Air Force General Michael Hayden, who directed both the CIA and the National Security Agency, told Newsmax. "It's a bit stunning. You would never expect to see that in material that's been made public."

Former House Intelligence Chairman Pete Hoekstra told Newsmax that the CIA agent "is now compromised. I just classify this as a major blunder by the Obama White House national security staff."

"I do not know how long this person has been in Kabul, but they're not going to be there for long," Hoekstra added. "They'll probably be moved within a couple of days."

Bob Baer, a retired CIA agent, told CNN that administration officials are "going to have to pull him out now that he's been identified publicly."

"The Taliban probably didn't know his name before, but they will now," he said. "They will focus on attempting to assassinate him — and I think it is just a matter of fact that they will pull him out of Afghanistan."

Rookie mistake?  Or calculated leak to aid the Taliban and make sure we have no covert capabilities left in Afghanistan that might make possible the return of American forces or the ability to exert American influence?

Here's how the "blunder" happened:

In an embarrassing flub for the White House, the CIA official's name was included in an email sent to thousands of journalists during President Barack Obama's surprise Memorial Day trip to Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.

The officer's name — identified as "chief of station" in Kabul — was included by U.S. embassy staff on a list of 15 senior U.S. officials who met with Obama during the Saturday visit.

The list was sent to a reporter for the Washington Post who was representing the news media, who then sent it out to the White House "press pool" list, which contains as many as 6,000 recipients....

In this case, the White House failed on at least two occasions to recognize that the CIA official's name was being revealed and circulated so broadly.

Not once, but twice.  What's that saying?  "Fool me once, shame on you; fool my twice, shame on me."  Also, "Once is a fluke, twice a coincidence, thrice a trend."  Is a "blunder" of this magnitude that just happens to out the top CIA operative in Afghanistan truly possible?  Even for as "incompetent" a bunch as Team Messiah?  Or did O give secret orders to do so?  Did some minion in the White House do what he or she thought O wanted done?  I'm not making accusations; I simply believe there is a limit to incompetence at this level, and this "blunder" dramatically exceeds it.

It's also hard not to notice that this "outing" happened as a consequence of the VA scandal that motivated this impromptu presidential sojourn to southern Asia in the first place.  "Never let a crisis go to waste" and all that.  Or, in this case, an opportunity.  And if leaking the Kabul station chief's name to the press wound up getting this person, and perhaps his family, hurt or killed, well, that's just the price of "ending the war," right?

It's also difficult to ignore the parallels between this "blunder" and another a decade ago under an American administration:

The disclosure smacked of the 2003 disclosure that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative by officials of the George W. Bush administration, Hayden and Hoekstra told Newsmax on Monday. It was done to discredit Plame's husband, a former ambassador who had criticized the decision to invade Iraq....

"The issue is the same," Hayden told Newsmax. "The issue is revealing the name of someone whose relationship to the CIA is a classified matter. It's exactly the same thing."

Yes, General, the issue is the same on its substance.  It's different in that the Obamedia will not turn it into its latest attempt at recreating Watergate, and consequently will not launch a full court press for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate whether this White House's "whoopsie!" was genuinely a mistake or a deliberate act of loose-lippedness - which, just as a reminder, is a crime under the U.S. Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

Unfortunately, we'll never know.  And that's a shame, because if this "outing" was deliberate, it's a vastly bigger breach than Plamegate ever was:

Referencing the Plame case, Hoekstra also cited a double standard — but this one is with the [Oba]media and its continued weak coverage of the Obama administration.

"What you're going to see again is a double standard," he told Newsmax. "Obviously, in terms of scale, this is a much more significant blunder than the mistake that was made by Scooter Libby. [Editor's note: Actually, it was made by then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage; Libby was merely the sacrificial goat]

"You're going to see the media just skate on this one and say: 'That's too bad. That's really too bad that someone made a mistake like this.'

"But the person in Kabul is absolutely furious that his or her cover has been blown," Hoekstra said. "When you compare that to where Valerie Plame was to the station chief in Kabul, there is no comparison — in terms of scale and in terms of importance."

Which is why I think it was deliberate.  But either way, the outcome is the same: detrimental.  In this instance, to the Kabul station chief, and to U.S. national security.

And on the towering pile it goes, with nobody knowing if this will be the addition that triggers the "avalanche".

But if it is, all The One has to say is "Whoopsie!"


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