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White House outing of CIA officer results in no punishments

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 11, 2014

After the inadvertent outing of the CIA's top officer in Kabul last month, White House Counsel Neil Eggleston has recommended specific changes to administration protocol while the president is traveling abroad.

White House principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that Mr. Eggleston had conducted an investigation into the incident and briefed President Obama and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on Tuesday night.

However, he also told reporters Wednesday, after the investigation had been completed, that no one has been fired or disciplined in connection with the incident.

In an inadvertent leak over Memorial Day weekend that some have compared to the Valerie Plame affair that resulted in a criminal probe and federal prison sentences, the White House put the name of the CIA station chief in the Afghan capital in a "pool report."

Those dispatches are routinely distributed to hundreds of reporters who regularly cover the White House, including many from foreign news outlets.

The Washington Times is withholding the operative's name.

In ensuring the White House doesn't disclose more top-secret identities, the administration still wants to remain as transparent as possible, according to Mr. Earnest.

"In all of these circumstances we are balancing our commitment to transparency with the need to protect some information for national security reasons," he said.

Mr. Eggleston recommendations are: "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."

"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."

"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."

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