White House takes steps to avoid PR snafus

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iol pic wld -us-politics-white-house-chof AFP White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. File picture: Saul Loeb

Weston, Massachusetts - The White House said on Wednesday it has put corrective measures in place in response to the accidental public outing of the CIA station chief's name during President Barack Obama's trip to Afghanistan late last month.

During the trip, personnel at Bagram Air Base gave to White House communications personnel at list of people who were meeting Obama. The White House gave the list to reporters covering the trip and among the names was that of the CIA official.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama's chief of staff, Denis McDonough, was briefed on Tuesday night by White House counsel Neil Eggleston on the results of a probe into the case and offered some recommendations to fix the problem, which were adopted.

The corrective measures, which Obama was briefed on, include: From now on before any Obama international trip, White House scheduling and advance staff will conduct a briefing in each country to make clear to officials that names of people Obama will be meeting will be released to the press and give them an opportunity to raise concerns.

The White House press advance staffer will clear the names of meeting participants with White House National Security Council staff prior to the distribution of those names and titles to the news media.

The White House scheduling staff and communications staff will receive additional training to enhance awareness and improve handling of sensitive information.

Earnest, asked if any punishments had been meted out as a result of the publication of the CIA official's name, said: “Not that I have to report in this context.”

He said the probe into the case had not been an effort to isolate specific wrongdoing because the disclosure was inadvertent.

Earnest briefed reporters while Obama attended a Democratic fundraiser in Weston, Massachusetts. - Reuters


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