The shallow White House attempt to protect President Obama from the VA scandal and reactive foreign policy failed over the weekend as aides released the name of the undercover CIA station chief to worldwide media, then blamed military officials for their mistake. It’s another instance in which Mr. Obama is not well served by his ambitious staff.
Media may be giving the White House a pass in order to have a positive story for Memorial Day.
Reports claiming that the White House “recognized the error” in outing the covert operator are misleading. The White House only recognized the error after it was brought to their intention by the press. Saying “the White House recognized the mistake” or a similar phrasing implies that the White House discovered the problem, when in fact they were scrambling and spinning to avoid owning up to their mistakes.
On the trip, Mr. Obama also declared an open-ended commitment to keep troops in Afghanistan.
As The Examiner reported, many media outlets dutifully got in line:
While the majority of reporters traveling with Obama went along with what many believe is a political stunt to divert attention away from the Veterans Administration scandal, it is exactly the type of politically-motivated that one comes to expect from a President and White House that tests the limits of Americans’ gullability, according to former intelligence officer and police lieutenant Kevin McIntyre.
“The American taxpayers had to foot a hefty amount of cash for this president to suddenly decide to notice our fighting forces as a way to show he cares, in spite of dozens of military veterans dying at the hands of his incompetent administration,” said McIntyre.
ABC News, for example, highlighted the glowing media reports of Mr. Obama’s trip, while failing to note the significance of outing the CIA station chief and attempting to blame the military. USA Today covered the story, but used the “White House recognized the error” spin.
Mr. Obama is briefly stepping into his role as Commander-in-Chief, focusing on public relations rather than troop relations. Obama aides said they specifically declined meeting with Afghan President Harmid Karzai to put emphasis on the photo op with the troops.
As he enters what many are calling his lame duck period six years into his presidency, Mr. Obama will finally describe this week his overarching foreign policy doctrine.