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Special Report

All-Star Panel: What outing CIA station chief in Afghanistan says about WH

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 27, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Tony Blinken at the White House interviewed a short time ago on CNN about this outing of the CIA's station chief, essentially the top man in Afghanistan. The story came out because it was in a release put out by two of the White House press pool and then released after several checks to thousands of journalists on that e-mail list. I was one of them. We are back with our panel. Steve, how big a deal is this?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, it's a very big deal, but I'm not sure why you need an investigation. There are two questions here. Who did it and why didn't the press office catch it before it was sent out to journalists? It's a very basic investigation. Why don't we have answers of this by now? It's been 24 hours.

Look, it's a very big deal when you out the name of a station chief in the CIA. And this from the crowd that said, initially, I mean, remember, this was the crowd that came in and they were going to usher in a new era of competence in government. And instead what we've seen is what I suspect is a careless mistake, but you can't have careless mistakes on matters of this importance.

I think it will continue to complicate or add to the complications of the relationship between the Obama administration, the political types and the Obama administration and the rank and file intelligence officials at the CIA, at DIA, and elsewhere who are increasingly I think concerned about the administration's approach to it Al Qaeda, about its selective use of intelligence, the president's selective use of intelligence, particularly on War on Terror issues. And this is not going to help those rank and file types feel even more competent in the way the administration handles intelligence.

BAIER: Critics, A.B., have pointed to the outing of former spy Valerie Plame and they are trying to draw a connection there. Brit Hume suggested it's a much -- it's apples and oranges.

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, look, it's an honest mistake. No one would want to do this because you are endangering the life of that person and their family, and it's a serious blunder. That said, it is a serious blow to the confidence of this administration coming off of the VA scandal, which is actually still ongoing and several other scandals involving how they run the government.  So it's a very big deal. Scott Wilson of the The Washington Post is the person that brought it to their attention. We have no idea how long this would have gone on undiscovered had a journalist not asked the administration why that name was on the list.

BAIER: Well, it said on there "station chief." So anybody who works in the press --

STODDARD: But also the investigation is an automatic response to this administration. They put something under investigation immediately so that it can't be talked about.

KRAUTHAMMER: Right, I can't talk about it because it's under investigation. It's the usual. Of course, this is the one time when they honestly were able to say that they had learned about it in the press from the press because nobody in the government actually saw it.

Look, I think the comparison with the Plame case in the Bush administration is important because that was another case where it was inadvertent. It was Richard Armitage, who was actually a critic of the Iraq war. He was unintentional. He was not trying to out or hurt anybody. The prosecutor knew about that and yet he pursued this with millions of dollars until he got a scalp, a Scooter Libby, and helped sort of destroy his career. And everybody on the left felt wonderful about this and the media played this story up relentlessly. Forests were felled to provide the paper for all the stories on this terrible leak, and she was a desk officer in Virginia. This guy is the station chief in a war zone.

And I can assure you all of that -- the fake umbrage and fake shock about that we saw in the Plame case is not going reoccur here. It was a mistake it does show the incompetence, sort of the adolescence incompetence of the administration. This is a mistake so elementary that you don't expect it to be done at a level infinitely lower. But at the White House level and that nobody had caught it on the second time around? And remember the list went out to 6,000 journalists including non-American ones.

STODDARD: It is the kind of thing you think could happen in the first six months of the administration but not the sixth year. It's late for these kinds of mistakes.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: This is not Harry Truman's NSC. This is not Eisenhower's NSC or White House advisors. This is really many, many steps down.

BAIER: And you think it hurts the overall interaction between intelligence and the White House?

HAYES: Yeah. I didn't believe that this will likely have wide political implications that the nation is going to be in uproar over the fact that this person's name was leaked. I do think it will have those kinds of consequences within the intelligence bureaucracy where there is already great skepticism of the kinds of things that the president has been saying particularly about Al Qaeda and the administration's treatment of the intelligence community more broadly, and that could really have real consequences for the president, for the White House.

BAIER: That is it for the panel, but stay tuned for a new spin on the term "lady's man."

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