The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin said today that the Obama administration is definitely going through a rough patch, citing the outing of the CIA station chief in Afghanistan as the latest example of how they can take a feel-good event, like Obama visiting the troops, and foul it up.
Martin made his remarks on CNN’s New Day with John King on Tuesday:
KING: Valerie Plame, who knows something about being outed back in the prior administration, she tweeted this yesterday. Astonishing: White House mistakenly identifies CIA chief in Afghanistan. She didn’t make a partisan statement there, but she’s essentially trying to say here, Keystone cops element to this. Is this just a second-term mistake? Is it some tired military person in Afghanistan?
MARTIN: It does strike me as when it rains it pours, that these guys are just going through a rough patch and even a sort of feel-good event to go in and support the troops, they can’t even do that without something going wrong.
The unannounced visit on Memorial Day Eve, which was supposed to be a morale booster to the troops and provide some good news to the beleaguered Obama White House, was marred by the accidental release of the name of the CIA’s top intelligence official in Afghanistan, whose name was placed on a list of people attending a military briefing with President Obama and distributed to some 6,000 journalists.
Once the White House staff was notified, they issued a corrected list without the station chief’s name, but the damage was already done.
The White House has not said whether or not they will replace the station chief, but there is no doubt that this was a costly blunder and has hurt our efforts to gather intelligence in a volatile country.