On a surprise visit to Afghanistan, President Barack Obama promised a decision soon on keeping a small contingent of troops in Afghanistan to help protect gains made over nearly 13 years of combat. (May 25) AP
The White House accidentally blew the cover of the top CIA officer in Afghanistan Saturday, when his name and title were released in an e-mail sent to reporters who traveled with President Obama on his surprise visit to Bagram Air Field.
The CIA officer's identity was released as part of a list of U.S. officials who were attending a military briefing with Obama at Bagram, the Washington Post reported.
The individual was identified as "Chief of Station," a term used for the top spy in a country, according to the Post.
MORE: Obama makes surprise visit to Afghanistan
The White House recognized the error and issued a revised list that did not include the official's name.
The list was sent in an e-mail to reporters traveling with Obama to Afghanistan, and then further distributed in a "pool report" to reporters not taking part in the trip, including members of foreign press agencies. In all, more than 6,000 people were sent the initial pool report that included the CIA officer's identity.
The Post reported that Scott Wilson, the newspaper's White House bureau chief, filed the pool report. Wilson copied the list contained in the e-mail sent from White House press officials.
"Wilson said that after the report was distributed, he noticed the unusual reference to the station chief and asked White House press officials in Afghanistan whether they had intended to include that name," the Post reported. "Initially, the press office raised no objection, apparently because military officials had provided the list to distribute to news organizations. But senior White House officials realized the mistake and scrambled to issue an updated list without the CIA officer's name."
The CIA and the White House have not officially commented on the incident and it remains unclear how the exposure will affect the CIA officer's ability to continue in his in role in Afghanistan.
The Post is withholding the official's name at the request of White House officials who warned publication of his name could put the official and his family in danger.
Obama said his surprise Memorial Day weekend visit had one purpose -- to thank the troops for their "extraordinary service."