Sunday, May 29, 2011

Revenge of the Shadows

Amongst the steady stream of dead bin Laden stories comes one today from the AP detailing the secret lives of two CIA operatives killed in the African Embassy bombings in Kenya in 1998:
For a small cadre of CIA veterans, the death of Osama bin Laden was more than just a national moment of relief and closure. It was also a measure of payback, a settling of a score for a pair of deaths, the details of which have remained a secret for 13 years.

Tom Shah and Molly Huckaby Hardy were among the 44 U.S. Embassy employees killed when a truck bomb exploded outside the embassy compound in Kenya in 1998. Though it has never been publicly acknowledged, the two were working undercover for the CIA. In al-Qaida's war on the United States, they are believed to be the first CIA casualties.
Since everyone knows that clandestine CIA officers are usually called "State Dept employees" when posted overseas this story isn't giving away anything, nevertheless it still has an unseemly feel about it. Bin Laden was no dummy--the story claims he was aware the embassy in Nairobi was a CIA hub, evidently a reason he chose it..
Bin Laden said the embassy in Nairobi was targeted because it was a major CIA station. He died never knowing that he had killed two CIA officers there.
He also knew the CIA would never publicly acknowledge the deaths of any agents under cover of the State Dept, so he likely assumed he'd killed a number of agents. After all, as some on the left proclaimed while Bush was in office, bin Laden had a history with the CIA dating back to the Soviet jihad in the 80s. He was practically on the payroll. Granted, such speculation has now died off in the clamor to give Obama full credit for killing the bogeyman but for some, things will never change.

The story goes on to say that Shah was working a sensitive mission before he was murdered by AQ--facilitating the defection of a "senior Iraqi official":
In 1997, he was dispatched to headquarters as part of the Iraq Operations Group, the CIA team that ran spying campaigns against Saddam Hussein's regime. Around that time, the CIA became convinced that a senior Iraqi official was willing to provide intelligence in exchange for a new life in America. Before the U.S. could make that deal, it had to be sure the information was credible and the would-be defector wasn't really a double agent. But even talking to him was a risky move. If a meeting with the CIA was discovered, the Iraqi would be killed for sure.
The CIA followed up and got the Iraqi defected, his information deemed 'extremely valuable'. And just what would that have been? That Saddam had no WMDs? That he DID have programs? That he worked for Halliburton or George Bush? Will anyone bother to ask about this defector or will it get swept away under the fog of the next bin Laden/gutsy call release? Or did they merely want people to guess?

Keep in mind the Nairobi bombing was in 1998. Clinton responded in part by bombing the aspirin factory in Khartoum, suspecting it was a joint bin Laden-Iraqi venture making VX nerve gas. Many Clinton officials have never come down off that assessment but then again, the mainstream media by and large hasn't had enough curiosity to ask them much about it.

Ironically, the CIA also had a history in Iraq:
When Saddam Hussein captured Erbil in September 1996, he also collapsed the CIA operations headquartered in the city of Salahuddin. The CIA effort was carried out by collaborating with such Iraqi opposition groups as the Iraqi National Congress (INC) in Erbil, and later the Iraqi National Accord headquartered in Amman, Jordan.
So perhaps the question is whether the deaths of these heroic shadow warriors might have also been avenged of sorts by Saddam dangling at the end of his rope.

2 comments:

Debbie said...

Well Saddam hanging was a pretty picture for everyone who fight for freedom, Osama's death also.

Debbie
Right Truth

A.C. McCloud said...

Right you are, but we would never get a story like this about Saddam.