The White House made a big mistake over the weekend, accidentally revealing the name of the CIA’s top officer in Kabul in a prepared list of U.S. officials who were taking part in a briefing related to President Barack Obama‘s surprise visit to Afghanistan.
After the White House caught the error, which named the individual as the “Chief of Station” — a label given to the CIA’s top spy in any given country — the agent was removed from the email and a revised list was distributed, the Washington Post reported.
But before making the change, the official’s identity was sent to more than 6,000 recipients, including reporters for TheBlaze. The Obama administration has asked media outlets to withhold the name to help ensure the agent’s safety as well as the well-being of his family.
The incident is notable, as it marks a rare occurrence in which the U.S. has revealed the name of one of its spies. CIA operatives’ identities are generally protected to ensure safety, the Post reported.
The list was apparently initially composed by military officials before the White House delivered it to reporters.
After it went out to thousands of recipients, Washington Post reporter Scott Wilson noticed the peculiar CIA title — one that is not generally used in public releases. He inquired with White House press officials to see if including the name was a mistake and discovered that it was.
It is unclear whether the agent will be forced to leave Afghanistan as a result of the error. The CIA and White House have not officially commented on the matter.
Obama visited Afghanistan over the weekend to spend some time with U.S. troops.
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