Black Budget Scumbags
Afghan CIA bomber 'was courted as potential informant'
The victims have not been named in order to protect CIA operations
The suicide bomber who killed seven CIA agents in Afghanistan had been courted by the US as a possible informant, US intelligence sources have said.
They said he had not undergone the usual full body search before entering the base in Khost province, and so was able to smuggle in an explosive belt.
The attack was the worst against US intelligence officials since the US embassy in Beirut was bombed in 1983.
US President Barack Obama has praised the work of those killed in a letter.
Paying tribute to the fallen, Mr Obama said those killed were "part of a long line of patriots who have made great sacrifices for their fellow citizens, and for our way of life".
He told CIA employees in a letter that the victims had "taken great risks to protect our country" and that their sacrifices had "sometimes been unknown to your fellow citizens, your friends, and even your families".
From the moment the bomb was detonated inside the base on Wednesday, says the BBC's Peter Greste in Kabul, questions were raised about how he managed to pass through security.
But now intelligence sources familiar with the investigation have said that CIA agents working from Forward Operating Base Chapman had been attempting to recruit the man as a potential informant.
I know firsthand the excellent quality of your work because I rely on it every day
US President's message to CIA
A US official, and former CIA employee, said such people were often not required to go through full security checks in order to help gain their trust.
"When you're trying to build a rapport and literally ask them to risk [their lives] for you, you've got a lot to do to build their trust," he told the Associated Press news agency.
The Taliban have said one of their members carried out the attack.
Spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told the BBC the Khost bomber was wearing an army uniform when he managed to breach security at the base, detonating his explosives belt in the gym.
However, this claim was denied by the Afghan defence ministry.
"This is the Taliban talking and nothing the Taliban says should be believed," said ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi.
Neither the names of the CIA officials killed nor the details of their work have been released because of the sensitivity of US operations, the agency said.
But the head of the base - who was reported to be a mother of three - was said to be among the dead.
As chief, she would have led intelligence-gathering operations in Khost, a hotbed of Taliban activity due to its proximity to Pakistan's lawless tribal region.
CIA Director Leon Panetta said six other agents had been injured in the attack.
CIA DEATHS: 1965-2009
2009: Seven killed in suicide attack on their base in Afghanistan
2003: Two CIA contractors die in Shkin, Afghanistan; CIA officer killed during training exercise in Afghanistan
2001: Officer shot during prison uprising in Afghanistan
1993: Two CIA employees killed at the agency's Virginia headquarters
1989: Six CIA employees die when a plane carrying military equipment from DR Congo to Angola crashes
1985: CIA Beirut station chief killed after having been kidnapped and tortured
1983: Eight CIA employees killed in the US embassy bombing in Beirut
1965: Seven CIA employees die, most of them in Vietnam
Source: Washington Post
He said the dead and injured had been "far from home and close to the enemy".
"We owe them our deepest gratitude, and we pledge to them and their families that we will never cease fighting for the cause to which they dedicated their lives - a safer America," he said.
The flags at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, are being flown at half-mast in honour of the dead.
Forward Operating Base Chapman, a former Soviet military base, is used not only by the CIA but also by provincial reconstruction teams, which include both soldiers and civilians.
The airfield is reportedly used for US drone attacks on suspected militants in neighbouring Pakistan.
A total of 90 CIA employees have been honoured for their deaths in the agency's service since its inception in 1947, according to the Washington Post newspaper.
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Are Presidents Afraid of the CIA?
By Ray McGovern (about the author)
In the past I have alluded to Panetta and the Seven Dwarfs. The reference is to CIA Director Leon Panetta and seven of his moral-dwarf predecessors--the ones who sent President Barack Obama a letter on Sept. 18 asking him to "reverse Attorney General Holder's August 24 decision to re-open the criminal investigation of CIA interrogations." http://tinyurl.com/my4jc5
Panetta reportedly was also dead set against reopening the investigation--as he was against release of the Justice Department's "torture memoranda" of 2002, as he has been against releasing pretty much anything at all--the President's pledges of a new era of openness, notwithstanding. Panetta is even older than I, and I am aware that hearing is among the first faculties to fail. Perhaps he heard "error" when the President said "era."As for the benighted seven, they are more to be pitied than scorned. No longer able to avail themselves of the services of clever Agency lawyers and wordsmiths, they put their names to a letter that reeked of self-interest--not to mention the inappropriateness of asking a President to interfere with an investigation already ordered by the Attorney General.
Three of the seven--George Tenet, Porter Goss, and Michael Hayden--were themselves involved, in one way or another, in planning, conducting, or covering up all manner of illegal actions, including torture, assassination, and illegal eavesdropping. In this light, the most transparent part of the letter may be the sentence in which they worry: "There is no reason to expect that the re-opened criminal investigation will remain narrowly focused."
When asked about the letter on the Sunday TV talk shows on Sept. 20, Obama was careful always to respond first by expressing obligatory "respect" for the CIA and its directors. With Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, though, Obama did allow himself a condescending quip. He commented, "I appreciate the former CIA directors wanting to look out for an institution that they helped to build."
That quip was, sadly, the exception to the rule. While Obama keeps repeating the mantra that "nobody is above the law," there is no real sign that he intends to face down Panetta and the Seven Dwarfs--no sign that anyone has breathed new life into federal prosecutor John Durham, to whom Holder gave the mandate for further "preliminary investigation." What is generally forgotten is that it was former Attorney General Michael Mukasey who picked Durham two years ago to investigate CIA's destruction of 91 tapes of the interrogation of "high-value detainees."
Durham had scarcely been heard from when Holder added to Durham's job-jar the task of conducting a preliminary investigation regarding the CIA torture specialists. These are the ones whose zeal led them to go beyond the already highly permissive Department of Justice guidelines for "harsh interrogation."
Durham, clearly, is proceeding with all deliberate speed (emphasis on "deliberate"). Someone has even suggested--I trust, in jest--that he has been diverted to the search for the money and other assets that Bernie Maddow stashed away.
In any case, do not hold your breath for findings from Durham anytime soon. Holder appears in no hurry. And President Obama keeps giving off signals that he is afraid of getting crosswise with the CIA--that's right, afraid.
Not Just Paranoia
In that fear, President Obama stands in the tradition of a dozen American presidents. Harry Truman and John Kennedy were the only ones to take on the CIA directly. Worst of all, evidence continues to build that the CIA was responsible, at least in part, for the assassination of President Kennedy. Evidence new to me came in response to things I included in my article of Dec. 22, "Break the CIA in Two." http://tinyurl.com/yl46gl5
What follows can be considered a sequel that is based on the kind of documentary evidence after which intelligence analysts positively lust.
Unfortunately for the CIA operatives who were involved in the past activities outlined below, the temptation to ask Panetta to put a SECRET stamp on the documentary evidence will not work. Nothing short of torching the Truman Library might conceivably help. But even that would be a largely feckless "covert action," copy machines having long since done their thing.
In my article of Dec. 22, I referred to Harry Truman's op-ed of exactly 46 years before, titled "Limit CIA Role to Intelligence," in which the former President expressed dismay at what the Central Intelligence Agency had become just 16 years after he and Congress created it.
The Washington Post published the op-ed on December 22, 1963 in its early edition, but immediately excised it from later editions. Other media ignored it. The long hand of the CIA?