Digital News Report – Flags were at half-mast at the CIA headquarters in Langley Virginia today as officials acknowledge the most deadly attack ever for the spy agency. Seven Central Intelligence Agency agents were killed yesterday during a suicide bombing attack.
“Those who fell yesterday were far from home and close to the enemy, doing the hard work that must be done to protect our country from terrorism,” Director Panetta said in a message to employees. The agents were working at a Forward Operating Base in Khost Province, Afghanistan. Six other agents were injured.
The CIA did not release the names of all of the agents killed. “Your triumphs and even your names may be unknown to your fellow Americans, but your service is deeply appreciated,” President Barack Obama said in a letter to the agency.
“Because of your service, plots have been disrupted, American lives have been saved and our allies and partners have been more secure,” Obama added.
This attack brings to the forefront America’s increasing dependence on the CIA to fight its wars. On Saturday, night raids against suspected insurgents and al-Qaeda leaders killed a number of students in the Kunar province, according to the UK Times Online.
Drones are playing a bigger role in the Afghanistan War. They fly over the border region 24 hours a day gathering intelligence. The CIA is also involved in gathering phone and radio intelligence, according to the report. Drones are also used to carry out air strikes.
The night raids have proven to be the most controversial. A UN Commission raised humanitarian and international-law concerns. Many of the raids were carried out by Pashai militias working alongside CIA operatives.
These units report directly to the Pentagon and not NATO. According to the report, their operations are sometimes so secret that even US forces operating nearby are unaware of them.
Professor Philip Alston, director of the New York Centre for Human Rights, says the raids are carried out by Afghans with a few international people who are “not accountable to any international military authority”.
By: Mark Williams