The White House inadvertently blew the cover of a top spy in Afghanistan by sending out his name in a press release faux pas that seemed to show the oxymoron of military intelligence.
Well-meaning officials put out the missive to coincide with a surprise visit by President Barack Obama to US troops stationed in the country, the Washington Post reported on Monday.
Reporters traveling with the president received a list of 15 US officials who would be participating in military briefing attended by Obama at Bagram air base north of Kabul. One of them was a man identified as ““Chief of Station” in Kabul — CIA talk for the top spy in the country.
A Washington Post reporter who asked the White House press office about the curious inclusion of the man’s name was initially told that the list was provided by the military and therefore good to go. However, senior officials soon realized the gaffe and acted to contain the damage.
As soon as the slip up was noticed authorities rushed worked to reissue an updated list minus the agent and the White House requested that the man’s name not be published as it could pose a risk to his life and that of his family.
However, the initial list, that was sent out via email, was then forwarded by reporters to thousands of recipients before the misstep was noticed. News of the blunder also made its way to the social media site Twitter although users were careful to not publish the man’s identity.
The report noted that it was not clear if the man would be pulled out of Afghanistan due to the mishap.