The PJ Tatler

White House: Release of CIA Official's Name 'Inadvertent,' No Punishments

The White House said it determined that the release of the name of the CIA station chief in Afghanistan was unintentional and said they don’t know of any disciplinary action that has been taken.

The station chief’s name was fed to the White House press pool in a list of people meeting with President Obama on his recent trip to Afghanistan.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters yesterday that the protocol is for the lead press contact to clear names with National Security Council staff before releasing to the media.

“The White House Scheduling and Advance staff and the White House Communications staff will receive additional training to enhance awareness and improve handling of sensitive information,” Earnest said, along with the addition of a briefing before Obama’s international trips to tell meeting participants that their names and titles will be released to the press in a pool report, giving those involved “an opportunity to raise concerns.”

“What they determined is that the release of information was inadvertent. And what the Counsel had been tasked with was devising some recommended process improvements to safeguard against this kind of inadvertent disclosure from happening again,” he said of the Afghanistan incident.


Those who investigated the release of the CIA official’s name “were not focused on trying to isolate any specific wrongdoing because this disclosure was inadvertent.”

“I won’t get into the specifics of who actually the Counsel spoke to in the context of this review.  But getting some clarity about what actually happened and what steps could be implemented to prevent it from happening again required a substantial number of conversations.”

When asked if the CIA station chief had been pulled out of Afghanistan for his safety, Earnest wasn’t clear.

“All we know is the CIA has, when asked about this a week or two ago, said that his situation had been addressed,” he said. “But I think that’s as specific as they got.”

On any punishments related to the release: “Not that I know of.”