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January 01, 2010

Taliban Attack On CIA Base Called "Devastating"

Not just because 7 brave Americans died but there simply are not a lot of experienced CIA field operatives.

Wednesday's attack on a U.S. compound in Afghanistan devastated what has been a hub of counterterrorism and intelligence operations for the spy agency.

...Among the casualties was the agency's base chief, former intelligence officials said. There had been only four publicly acknowledged CIA fatalities in Afghanistan prior to this attack.

The Taliban claimed responsibility Thursday for the bombing, which was carried out by suicide bomber wearing an Afghan National Army uniform. Some senior officials think the bomber may have been given access to the base because he was believed to be an informant, said two former intelligence officials.

Several former intelligence officials described the attack in Afghanistan as "devastating" to the agency. A number of the officers killed had been counterterrorism operatives since before the 9/11 attacks.

...Forward operating bases typically house hundreds of soldiers, and Afghan forces and private contractors also often live on such bases. But CIA outposts on these bases are usually smallóno more than 15 or maybe 20 people, so 13 casualties is likely a majority of the CIA base personnel, said one former agency official.

Add to that the fact the bomber was thought to be someone they could trust and there's going to be a breakdown in relations between the remaining officers and their Afghan partners.

According to one former CIA agent, the kind of people who volunteer for this type of duty aren't the sit on their ass at Langley or play bureaucratic games. Unfortunately, they are fairly few and far between.

CIA employees in Afghanistan are a special breed. With more than 90% of CIA employees living and working entirely within the United States , the burden of wartime service falls heavily upon a patriotic few. Newly trained CIA officers who volunteer for service in Afghanistan or Iraq do so by joining either the CIA division responsible for the Middle East or the CIA division for counterterrorism. Once assigned to these divisions, choices for subsequent duty stations tend to be limited to hardship locations. It's common for a CIA officer finishing a tour in Afghanistan to be assigned to a tour in Iraq . By contrast, it's common for an officer in the European division to finish a tour in Brussels and then be assigned to Paris .

More than 90% of CIA officers are office workers? Yeah, we're going to need Zombie William Donovan stat.

7 more stars on the wall, untold family and friends in mourning and a war effort set back. Damn.


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posted by DrewM. at 12:06 PM

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