NEW YORK (CNN) – White House counsel is expected to investigate the leak of the name of a CIA operative in Afghanistan to come up with ways to keep it from happening again.
Sources say the review will focus on how, just after the president arrived at Bagram air force base in Afghanistan, the system to protect the identity of his top spy there broke down-allowing the name of the CIA station chief to be distributed to a pool reporter and then to 6000 other journalists by email.
Intelligence sources say the CIA operative, who CNN is not naming, is now a marked man and that foreign intelligence services are most likely looking into his professional history to see who he’s come into contact with.
“He’s served in other places presumably, Europe, East Asia, you don’t know where and he’s served undercover so all those cover positions he’s served under are blown.
He might have one extension in the office and five other people are on it and they’re all blown too,” CNN security analyst Bob Baer said. Spycraft overseas is extraordinarily dangerous work.
In 2009 in Khost Afghanistan, seven CIA agents including the chief of base, Jennifer Matthews were killed by a suicide bomber after he was allowed to meet with the agents on base.
In Pakistan, in 2010, 2011 and again last year, three CIA station chiefs had their identities revealed.
And in perhaps the most public case, Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA operative during the bush administration, was intentionally outed. Her name was leaked to newspaper reporters by members of the administration who were unhappy with her diplomat husband’s opposition to the war in Iraq. Her career as a spy was ruined.
Experts say while the circumstances in this case may be different this latest disclosure will likely end with similar results.
“The effect is to destroy a career basically, Valerie Plame left the CIA, this guy is going to be ya know put out to pasture into management,” Baer continued.
There’s been no comment so far from the government about the status of the station chief and whether he is being recalled or reassigned.