The White House is adopting enhanced security procedures during foreign trips after the name of a CIA official was accidentally leaked to the press during President Barack Obama’s visit to Afghanistan late last month. However, no one was disciplined or fired as a result of the leak.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced the results of an investigation into the incident conducted by White House Counsel Neil Eggleston ahead of a fundraiser attended by the president in Massachusetts Wednesday evening. Earnest said Eggleston briefed White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on the results of the investigation Tuesday. The president was also informed of the investigation’s findings Tuesday. Eggleston made three recommendations to prevent similar security breaches from occurring in the future.
The leak occurred when the name of the CIA’s station chief in Kabul was including on a list of officials who participated in a military briefing with Obama during his Afghanistan visit that was subsequently emailed to thousands of reporters on the White House press pool list. Business Insider has withheld the name of the station chief, which has not been widely reported in spite of the leak.
Earnest described the leak of the CIA station chief’s name as “inadvertent.” He said no officials were disciplined or fired.
“What this review was focused on was determining the nature of the release — in this case, they determined that it was inadvertent — and putting in place some process improvements that would make sure that this didn’t happen again,” Earnest explained.
Earnest also outined the three recommendations Eggleston made after his investigation:
- “On international trips with the President — when there are meetings that are open to press coverage, a member of the White House Scheduling and Advance staff will conduct a briefing prior to the President’s arrival to notify meeting participants that their names and titles will be released to the press in a pool report, and give participants an opportunity to raise concerns. This recommendation will also apply to any event where a list of participants will be made publicly available to the press — for instance, in a public event where there are people 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 Council 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.”
Earnest said the practices recommended by Eggleston sometimes were used in the past, but did not “occur every time.” In an email to Business Insider, Earnest said the three recommendations were “accepted and are being implemented immediately.”
This story was updated at 11:03 p.m. with Earnest comment to Business Insider and the full text of his remarks from a White House readout.
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