Foreign Affairs

Obama White House exposes Afghanistan CIA chief

Obama White House exposes Afghanistan CIA chief

Memorial Day weekend brought another dose of the dazzling competence for which the Obama White House has become famous, as the guest list for meeting the President during his visit to Afghanistan included the name of the top CIA official in that turbulent land.  The media has been trying to brush this off as a minor gaffe, barely worth mentioning, but the story has surprisingly strong legs.  Compromising national security during a public-relations effort to quell anger over the VA scandal, not to mention mounting public outrage about the seemingly limitless ineptitude of this petulant teenage White House, was not a smooth move.

The Washington Examiner reports:

The White House passed along to the press the name of the CIA’s station chief in Kabul on a list of senior officials attending a military briefing for President Obama during the trip.

Reporters who accompany the president on his travels routinely must serve “pool duty” – the process of chronicling the president’s movements and details of his daily interactions and remarks to write up and pass along to thousands of journalists, including foreign media.

White House aides gave the journalist assigned to pool duty Sunday the list that inadvertently included the station chief’s name. It’s common for the White House to provide such list to reporters on pool duty but the names of intelligence officials usually are omitted.

After the pool reporter, the Washington Post’s Scott Wilson, emailed his report that included the station chief’s name White House press aides, the aides looked it over before sending it on to thousands of other journalists not on the trip. The White House soon recognized the mistake and issued a second list that omitted the station chief’s name and title.

It is not known whether the station chief will have to leave his post in Kabul because his cover is now blown.

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that yes, the station chief will have to leave Kabul.

Hey, remember when the Left went into full-blown, red-alert, get-Hollywood-on-the-phone freakout mode over the exposure of a minor CIA desk jockey’s name?  Actually, a few media organizations have been trying to remember that whole incident, and not doing a very good job of remembering exactly who exposed the name of Valerie Plame, or why.  (Hint: his boss at the time is a huge fan of Barack Obama.)  Even the Washington Examiner remembers more about the anti-Bush witch hunt than who ended up being the witch.

But of course, outing a CIA chief – an agent in the field who actually does risk a hell of a lot more than a paper cut – will be treated as no big deal when the Obama White House does it.  As always, the presumed intentions of Obama and his people will be judged far more relevant than what they actually did, and this is all just a silly mistake, so we’ll just swap out CIA guys and forget about the whole thing.  It won’t matter that the White House utterly failed to notice what they had done until a reporter pointed it out to them.  That’s only fitting, really, since President Obama says he never finds out about anything the Obama White House or Obama Administration has done until he sees it on a cable news show.

In other Afghanistan news, President Obama significantly altered his timetable for withdrawal, effectively losing an argument with military commanders.  There will still be about 9,800 US troops in-country after the “formal” end of military operations, but they’re still on an exit timetable, which Fox News reports is still unsatisfactory to some critics of the President’s Afghanistan policy:

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., praised Obama Tuesday for honoring the military’s request to keep some forces in Afghanistan — but continued to question whether a strict timetable should be set.

“Holding this mission to an arbitrary egg-timer doesn’t make a lick of sense strategically,” McKeon said in a statement, suggesting this would “replicate” the mistakes from Iraq.

In Iraq, the administration failed to strike a broader security agreement with Baghdad and pulled out nearly all U.S. troops, which some blame for chaos in the country now. “We are in Afghanistan because it was the spawning ground of Al Qaeda and the devastating attack on American soil. Those threats still exist,” McKeon said. “We leave when the Afghans can manage that threat, rather than on convenient political deadlines that favor poll numbers over our security.”

I seem to recall, right about the time liberals were losing their minds over Valerie Plame, they were also insisting Afghanistan was the “good war” they couldn’t wait to fight at all costs.  One of their major gripes about Iraq was that it supposedly distracted our attention from giving the Taliban the beating they deserved.  Why should any arbitrary timetable now take precedence over securing a lasting, satisfactory outcome?  If Rep. McKeon’s call to stay on the ground until the Afghans can manage the threat of the Taliban is heeded, we’ll be there well after 2016.

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