When Valerie Plame was outed as a CIA operative, the media not only kept up endless attacks for years, they attacked and pilloried the wrong people. Scooter Libby and Karl Rove became targets though they did not leak her name. Now that the situation is reversed and the White House released the name of the CIA station chief in Kabul, the media has dropped it rather quickly.
Sen. Rob Portman announced on Monday that the station chief is no longer serving in Afghanistan.
“It was irresponsible enough to expose him and it’s my understanding that he had to leave,” Portman said. “I don’t know [if he’s out of job], but this is Governing 101. You don’t mess with the station chiefs,” he added.
The chief has been moved to a safe location but he was forced out of his job. It is not known if he has any job. He is the only one who paid a price for his name being leaked.
White House Counsel Neil Eggleston is reportedly conducting a review. As is Obama’s custom, he is investigating himself. It is a mystery why an extended investigation is needed. It seems simple enough.
The Washington Post explained how this leak came about.
“The officer’s name — identified as ‘chief of station’ in Kabul — was included by US embassy staff on a list of 15 senior American officials who met with President Obama during the Saturday visit,” according to The Washington Post. The list was emailed to reporters traveling with Obama and then included in a pool report which was shared with thousands, even foreign media – a good 6,000 people.
The list originated with White House press officials. The Washington Post WH Bureau Chief Scott Wilson saw the name and asked WH press officials if the station chief’s name was supposed to be included. The WH press office okayed the list at that time.
The reporter who distributes the pool report sent it to the WH to be checked. The WH failed to notice the error again.
When the mistake was finally uncovered, they issued a new list – too late – and said the name was included because it was on the list forwarded by military officials. The insinuation was it was the military officials’ fault.
It’s allegedly and probably a mistake – a very egregious one.
As the two-year Plame affair unfolded, aides to George Bush and Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, were accused. Libby was put on trial for lying and obstruction of justice over the case but it was Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage who leaked Plame’s name to the press. Armitage was Colin Powell’s aide and neither he nor Powell said a word as Libby was reviled, convicted of a felony and sentenced to prison, a sentence later commuted. He was fined and lost his law license, to say nothing of his good name.
Plame was only doing desk work at the time.
Recently, John Kiriakou was the first CIA officer sentenced for leaking classified information. He is serving a 30-month sentence. He emailed the name of a covert CIA officer to a reporter in August 2008. He still maintains he thought the officer was retired.
He took the plea deal because he didn’t want to spend decades in prison.
In another case, according to POGO, Leon Panetta, at an awards dinner, specifically recognized the unit that conducted the raid and identified the ground commander by name who killed Osama bin Laden.
Then there was this case. In July 2011, a top Pentagon official gave two Hollywood filmmakers the name of a Navy SEAL involved in training the squad of commandos who carried out the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
There was also the very serious Stuxnet leak that was traced right back to the White House itself.
According to The Washington Times article done in cooperation with Freedom Watch:
The Obama administration provided a New York Times reporter exclusive access to a range of high-level national security officials for a book that divulged highly classified information on a U.S. cyberwar on Iran’s nuclear program, internal State Department emails show.
The information in the 2012 book by chief Washington correspondent David E. Sanger has been the subject of a yearlong Justice Department criminal investigation: The FBI is hunting for those who leaked details to Mr. Sanger about a U.S.-Israeli covert cyberoperation to infect Iran’s nuclear facilities with a debilitating computer worm known as Stuxnet.
Meanwhile, the White House leak of the Kabul station chief was last mentioned by the media on or about May 28th. The intentional disclosure of the name of a “covered” operative is a crime under the U.S. Intelligence Identities Protection Act but the White House will get away with it and without much fanfare. No one will suffer as Scooter Libby or John Kiriakou suffered.
The leak appears to be the result of gross incompetence but no matter what, it will be barely mentioned by the media, if at all.
On May 28th, the VA scandal began to grow legs, we found out about the tens of thousands of children coming across our borders without adult escorts, and Mr. Obama told West Point cadets that our real war was the climate change war. This leak disappeared from the news – completely. Most opportune.