Press Pool Report – Report on release of CIA station chief’s name in Kabul
From: Stephen COLLINSON
Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 07:08 PM
To: Barnes, Desiree N.
Subject: Pool report #6 .. Report on release of CIA station chief’s name in Kabul
Josh Earnest briefed the pool when we reached the venue for the fundraiser in Weston, MA.
He said that Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was briefed by White House Counsel Neil Eggleston on Tuesday night about the investigation he undertook following the disclosure of the name of the CIA Kabul station chief in a pool report during the president’s trip to Afghanistan. The president was briefed on the findings on Tuesday night as well.
The Counsel came up with three recommendations to prevent what Earnest said was the “inadvertent” exposure of information and the have already gone into affect.
1) On an international trip, before the president arrives, a member of the scheduling and advance staff will conduct a briefing to notify participants of a meeting open to the press that their names and titles will be released to reporters. Participants will be given an opportunity to raise concerns.
This will also apply to events where people are on stage with the president.
2 “On international trips with the president the White House press lead will clear the names and titles of meeting participants with National Security Staff prior to the distribution of those names and titles to the press.”
“3 “The White House scheduling and advance staff and the White House communications staff will receive additional training to enhance awareness and improve handling of sensitive information.”
Earnest said that the release of information in Kabul was inadvertent.
He said that “as a matter of course” the recommendations had not previously been followed but were sometimes being done. They often occur “but they don’t occur every time.”
He said there was no discipline or firings meted out to any official “in this context.”
“In all of these circumstances we are balancing our commitment to transparency with the need to protect some information for national security reasons.”
He was not able to say what kind of communication there was between the counsel and the CIA in the matter.
Earnest said that he wouldn’t get into who the counsel spoke to.
“Getting some clarity about what actually happened … required a substantial number of conversations.”
Stephen Collinson, AFP