- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Three days after the White House inadvertently blew the cover of the CIA’s top officer in Kabul, President Obama on Wednesday said his administration is committed to effective intelligence-gathering and protecting “sources and methods” abroad.

During an address to graduates at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the president also said his administration must “clearly and publicly” explain its actions, including drone strikes and the decision to work more closely with Syrian rebels fighting against that country’s president, Bashar al-Assad.

His remarks come less than 72 hours after the administration provided to the media a list of U.S. officials who met with the president during his surprise visit to Afghanistan on Sunday. The list then was sent out in a “pool report” by a reporter traveling with the president, winding up in the hands of thousands of reporters.

The Washington Times is withholding the name of the CIA officer.

Despite the snafu, Mr. Obama said he is committed to balancing transparency with the need to protect sources around the world.

“I also believe we be more transparent about both the basis for our actions and the manner in which they are carried out — whether it is drone strikes or training partners,” Mr. Obama said. “I will increasingly turn to our military to take the lead and provide information to the public about our efforts. Our intelligence community has done outstanding work and we must continue to protect sources and methods. But, when we cannot explain our efforts clearly and publicly, we face terrorist propaganda and international suspicion; we erode legitimacy with our partners and our people; and we reduce accountability in our government.”

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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