Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Deadly Incompetence: White House Leaks Identity of CIA head Of Station For Afghanistan
President Obama's Memorial Day trip to Afghanistan was a well-executed propaganda coup, especially with the VA scandal still in the news.
And then somebody screwed up. Someone at the White House accidentally leaked the name of the CIA station chief in Kabul, Afghanistan on a list of people the president was going to meet with to some 6,000 members of the press, and there's no telling whom it could have gone to from there.
This is dangerous not only for the individual involved, but for anyone he talks to, as this person's movements are are likely one of a number of others being monitored by al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Only NBC out of the three major alphabet networks even mentioned this story, although they found considerable air time to devote to stories on Michelle Obama's school lunch program.
And as you'll notice, the NBC reporter, Peter Alexander mentioned the leaking of part-time agent Valerie's Plame's identity by "Bush administration officials" and took care to equal the two.
Actually, there's not much of a comparison except in one major detail...in both cases, it's a felony. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 makes revealing the name of a covert CIA agent a crime.
In the Plame outing,the story became a major firestorm and made national headlines after the late columnist Robert Novak published a piece revealing that revealing that prominent Democrat Iraq War critic Joseph C. Wilson's wife Valerie Plame was a CIA employee. The dinosaur media were all over the story. A Special Counsel was appointed to investigate the leak, and charges of political retribution by the Bush White House over Wilson’s opinions on the Iraq War (and as it turned out later, his wholesale lies) were the story for months. Figures within the Bush administration including Karl Rove were targeted and investigated.
Eventually, Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff Scooter Libbey was charged, mostly because in the months between his first statements to the FBI and subsequent ones and his later testimony under oath some of his details weren't correlated and didn't match up. He became the Official Designated Victim,and got 30 months in federal prison, a fine of $250,000, and two years of supervised release, including 400 hours of community service. He was spared prison but remains a convicted felon because President Bush commuted only his 30-month prison sentence and left his conviction and the rest of his punishment intact.
And in the end, the person who gave Novak the leak was not a 'Bush Administration official' but Colin Powell's deputy Richard Armitage, who readily admitted that he was the source but claimed he didn’t know Plame was covert. He,of course, was never punished, most likely because it would have reflected on Colin Powell, who sat back, said nothing and let Libbey take the rap.
Now as bad as releasing Valerie Plame's name was, let's remember that she was essentially a clerical employee who worked in Washington DC, not in Kabul, one of the most dangerous posts in the world. Yet there's no media frenzy, no call to investigate Obama appointees in the White House, no calling for a special counsel, nothing.
It remains to be seen if members of Congress and the dinosaur media are going to go after this story, report indignantly about this latest example of the Obama White House's sheer incompetence and insist that whomever leaked this CIA station head's name be punished.