WASHINGTON -- Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) appeared for a moment to have revealed the name of an undercover CIA agent on Thursday when she mistakenly conflated the man and his station chief, whose identity is not a secret.
During a floor speech in support of hiring more minorities in the Central Intelligence Agency, Jackson Lee talked about Garrett Jones, who she said "served as a CIA station chief in Somalia during peacekeeping operations in 1993."
"He was cited as an African American officer who was able to work undercover for weeks in north Mogadishu, which he said would have -- his duty officers said -- would have all but been impossible by Jones' other officers," she continued. "We all have a contribution to make, and I look forward to this sense of Congress not being weeded out in conference and re-emphasizing the importance of this effort."
Watch her remarks above.
Of course, if Jones had been an undercover agent, stating his name on the floor of the House of Representatives could have been damaging, as the speeches go on television and in the congressional record.
Luckily, Jones' identity is not a secret. He is now retired from the CIA, and penned op-eds in the Los Angeles Times in 2006 about his time running covert operations in Mogadishu.
A few minutes after her comments, Jackson Lee seemed to realize her mistake, and stood up again to say she did not actually reveal the agent's name.
"In the statement I made on Amendment number seven, I indicated that the CIA agent that was undercover's name -- that was not the undercover agent's name, which I would not give, it was the section station director's name, Mr. Garrett Jones," she said. "The CIA agent was undercover and remains unnamed."
The comments were made during debate over the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2013, which passed later in the day. Jackson Lee introduced an amendment to establish the "sense of Congress" -- a non-enforceable expression of the majority's opinion -- that the CIA should take actions to increase the number of ethnic minorities in its ranks, as both officers and employees. The amendment passed on a voice vote.