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Exposure of CIA Station Chief Spotlights Administration’s Immaturity

May 27th, 2014 - 10:24 am

Anybody can make a mistake, and that certainly appears to be what led to the Obama White House’s exposure of the top CIA official in Afghanistan this weekend. Unfortunately, as Roger Kimball details, this is not an isolated incident. In year six of the Obama administration, it speaks volumes about not just incompetence but immaturity and the skewed priorities that come with it.

Exactly because anyone can make a mistake, large organizations — presidential administrations included — build layers of vetting into the disclosure of information to the public. In this instance, because the commander-in-chief made a surprise visit to Afghanistan over Memorial Day weekend, the White House put out a list of government officials the president met with. Somehow, that list included the intelligence official’s name with the designation “chief of station.”

This error is so basic that it grabbed the attention of Scott Wilson of the Washington Post, the “pool reporter” who received the list. Regrettably, he’d already sent out the pool report by the time he noticed the station chief designation and thought to ask whether the White House press office had really intended to put out that information.

That’s how the administration learned about what it had done — from a reporter. Think about that. In the composition and disclosure of this list, many people on both the military end and White House end have to have known that such information should never be circulated. That’s not only true as a matter of principle and common sense; it’s empirically true: Fox News reports that this administration has already had to remove a CIA station chief in Pakistan (in 2010) because of an exposure incident. It is astonishing that such an obvious error was not caught.

It is, moreover, tough to be sympathetic because Democrats never are when the shoe is on the other foot. When Valerie Plame was outed as a CIA operative — apparently inadvertently, by senior State Department official Richard Armitage — Democrats turned the error into a major controversy that damaged the Bush administration. Ms. Plame had a desk job at Langley and there are no indications that her exposure caused much harm. (There were reports at the time suggesting that she had been exposed long before through a bureaucratic screw-up.) By contrast, the official just exposed by the White House is the current top CIA official in a war zone that presents tremendous challenges to the United States, one where intelligence gathering is at a premium. The gravity of this error thus appears far more serious than the one over which Democrats spent years demanding a Bush administration scalp.

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Top Rated Comments   
Now, had it been the President's Columbia GPA that was inadvertently mailed out, would that have been caught? (That, of course, is also a secret.) One wonders.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
1. We lose a major intelligence asset. This wasn’t the station chief of Fiji…this was one of our most important CIA officers.

2. I’d imagine his career is seriously damaged. Clandestine fieldwork is a good resume builder in that career.

3. What are other clandestine CIA officers doing right now…other than defecating themselves worrying that they are going to be exposed by idiot political hacks in DC.

4. Most news reports I’ve read have used the incident to trot out The Plame Affair…so not sure there’s going to be much media coverage of this disaster.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Andrew, they don't care.

They barely conceal their contempt for the military and law enforcement, border security, polling place security.

The Woodstock Jihadists don't like "the man". Oh, they make a show of being "concerned" about the troops. Mostly, they treat them like sick puppies who have been beaten against their will and now suffer from being "forced" to engage in inexcusable "war games'.

The Woodstock Jihadists changed only their style points when it comes to military and global security operations. They still hate everyone associated with it, but make a cloying show of faux reverence for the enlisted grunt, instead of spitting on him and calling him baby killer, as in the good old days.

The hard left doesn't hate war or violence. They just root against us winning.

You certainly don't hear a peep out of them about communist brutality, invasion, mass murder. Ever.

They go out of their way to scrub the Muslim out of Islamic jihad. They scrub the gang banging out of multiple gunshot killings. They scrub the human trafficking out of border crashing.

Because...they don't care.

Woodstock Jihad has one goal. And it is willing to get there...by any means necessary. If a Station Chief had to be outed to boost Obama by a few points...too bad. And too bad about deaths in Benghazi and too bad about conservatives being attacked by their own government.

Woodstock Jihad. 1,2,3, 4 what are we fighting for...don't ask them, they don't give a damn, next stop is Obamastan.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (23)
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"That’s how the administration learned about what it had done — from a reporter."

Why would this surprise anyone: this administration has been telling us for SIX years that they only find out about problems from the press. Frightening!
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
This Administration has blown any number of intelligence operations and assets, those of our allies also. It has happened too many times to be merely accidental. The result is already a profound distrust. Who knows what comes next? I am surprised that the old dinosaurs have not long since silenced the blabbermouths the hard way. Perhaps it is time for them to do so.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually there are plenty of people in the administration who would like to see the CIA hurt. I also suspect that they knew the would be protected and that in the end it would be carrier enhancing. The same went for the IRS.

No conspiracy, but plenty of people wanted to see something similar happen, and in that case, all you have to do is leave the door ajar.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
we can all articulate reasons for and against what this WH admin has done. But bottom line is their goal is power at our expense. And they have no guilt. Hmm. again I ask, what is the threshold where we say enough is enough and take these idiots on in the streets with tar and feathers!
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
The CIA may have earned its own reward from Nemesis. They sure did their bit to politically sabotage the Bush Administration. And they were never really held to account for blowing 9/11.

As for the Station Chief, he was likely ready for his retirement tour anyway. It'll be in Langley now, not overseas.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree CraigZ about the one point -- namely the absolutely shameless way in which the CIA single-handedly usurped Bush's plans to deal with Iran nuclear program.

I still remember how happy I was when Bush began preparing the country -- their expectations for a strike of some sort by ramping up a series of speeches, and then: Whammo! That "assessment" came out and everyone was dumbfounded. It was a true stab in the back by the CIA -- and while I certainly wouldn't want anyone to be harmed, I can't say I'm sad that the president the CIA helped to herald in is now the cause of their misery.

Of course, Obama is the cause of *all* our misery now.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Foreign affairs seems to be little more than a distraction for the regime.

Obama's mission is primarily domestic transformation - to minimize societal inequality at almost any cost... so long as he and the other annointed architects don't have to live by the rules they impose on the rest of us.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Scooter Libby was not available for comment!
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why show a list of the people he visited at all? For whose benefit is that list? It certainly isn't for the benefit of government officials, as they already have the info. It certainly isn't for the various intelligence agencies around the world because they probably already knew who he visited and already briefed their respective governments. The only reason to show the list is propaganda.

Think about it. The only reason they have photo ops and press conferences at various stops on these trips is to put on a propaganda show that says "Look at the good we're doing for the world!". So to me, this smacks of more showmanship and propaganda than anything else.

Why do they need this propaganda? The majority of people have no faith in Obama and they believe that he isn't interested in the details of running the executive branch and that he's too incompetent to run it even if he was interested. How do they change this perception? Show Obama conducting the business of government.

So, as one small part of this propaganda, they decide to show the public the list of important people he met with. How can the public know if these people are important or not without their titles? Well, they can't. Thus, his brain dead minions include their titles without even thinking about the consequences. Why? Because the entire administration is too focused on the narrative and the optics to think about the consequences for the country and the people on the list. In their zeal to craft the narrative to show that Obama isn't incompetent, they demonstrate exactly the opposite.

It's not an accident, nor did they intend to do harm. It's just the logical end result of filling an administration with a bunch of incompetent, brain-dead, leftist, Utopian dreamers and their bankrupt political philosophy. IMHO, it really is just that simple.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
For the same reason we had a thousand pictures and a million stories about how President Obama 'got' Osama bin Laden. It's all a show.

Perhaps this year President Obama could be awarded an Emmy for "Best Actor" : he isn't really a president, he just plays one on TV.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
You cannot expect an insecure narcissist who is not very bright himself to surround himself with competent individuals.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Especially when he NEEDS to be the smartest guy in the room!
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Couldn't you add to the list d) the loss of 30 Americans on August 6, 2011 helicopter crash? That lethal crash killed SEAL Team 6 members, and it has struck me as suspicious. I wonder, what sort of leaks were there? Who did not pay attention to the details? Yet another instance of gross incompetence, malfeasance by the Obama administration?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have also thought that crash was very suspicious, and wondered what those Seals might have known about bin Laden, and why on earth his carcass was hastily dumped in the sea without positive, conclusive identification. Couple that with Hillary running scared about what's at the bottom of the Benghazi scandal, and there does seem to be a pattern.

I pray that the country survives long enough that documentaries can be made about the era we are living through, after the passage of time brings the truth to light. Vote. Speak, at every opportunity.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
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