President Joe Biden’s administration was harshly criticized Sunday for, among other reasons, seemingly exposing the existence of CIA operations in Qatar, a small Middle Eastern nation located on the Arabian Peninsula.
What are the details?
To quell growing outrage over Biden’s muted response to the swift collapse of Afghanistan and the victory of Taliban terrorists, the White House posted a photo of Biden sitting in a conference room at Camp David Sunday morning, where he remains on a planned vacation.
“This morning, the President and Vice President met with their national security team and senior officials to hear updates on the draw down of our civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul,” the White House tweeted with the photo.
This morning, the President and Vice President met with their national security team and senior officials to hear updates on the draw down of our civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul. pic.twitter.com/U7IpK3Hyj8
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 15, 2021
Unfortunately for Biden, the photo only instigated further condemnation.
The White House’s communications department, which was most likely responsible for the photo, did not edit out the locations and identities of the people with whom Biden was meeting via teleconference.
Two of the screens had particularly revealing labels: “CIA” and “Doha Station,” the later likely a reference to a secret American intelligence outpost in Doha, the capital city of Qatar.
“Heck of a job, White House communications shop. I figure you would want to crop out the teleconference screens labeled ‘CIA” and “Doha Station,'” National Review’s Jim Geraghty said. “You panicking amateur idiots.”
Heck of a job, White House communications shop. I figure you would want to crop out the teleconference screens labeled "CIA" and "Doha Station." You panicking amateur idiots. https://t.co/ZFoICYYVwO
— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) August 15, 2021
Were there any other problems?
Not only did the White House seemingly expose CIA operations in Doha — without even covering the faces of the intelligence operators there — but social media users quickly noticed another problematic detail in the photo.
The clocks above the teleconference screens, giving the current time in major cities across different time zones, were incorrect.
Specifically, the clocks indicated a three-hour time difference between London and Moscow. However, those cities are only two hours apart this time of the year.
Russia, in fact, stopped observing Daylight Savings Time in 2014. This means that when Britain observes DST in the summer and fall months, the time difference between London and Moscow is just two hours, but when London is not observing DST in the winter and early spring, the cities have a three-hour time difference.
Explanations for the discrepancy include the photo being taken before DST began in March, or that the clocks at Camp David are set wrong. The latter option is much more likely considering there is zero evidence the White House released a months-old photo.
Biden, did, however, take a trip to Camp David before DST became effective this spring.
Author: Chris Enloe