A suicide bombing in Afghanistan Wednesday killed seven CIA employees and wounded six others. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing.
"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," CIA Director Leon Panetta said Thursday in a written statement.
"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."
The statement added that “neither the names of those killed nor the details of their work” would be released because of the sensitivity of their mission.
A Wall Street Journal report called it “the largest single-day loss for the spy agency since the Beirut embassy bombing in 1983.”
Time magazine’s Bobby Ghosh writes that the casualties “will cast a pall over the agency.”
Ghosh reports that the CIA’s Memorial Wall at CIA headquarters currently has 90 stars, “each representing an employee killed in the line of duty.”
"People walking into [CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia] will look at that Memorial Wall in a different way today," a former CIA operative tells Ghosh. "On a day like this, you want to stop in front of those black stars and bow in silence."
Laura King of the Los Angeles Times describes the base where the attack occurred as being “well-fortified” with “barriers, barbed wire and watchtowers.”
“So military and intelligence officials were scrambling Thursday to determine how a lone suicide bomber managed to not only penetrate the perimeter defenses of the base but also make his way deep inside,” King writes.
Some other news reports and perspectives:
- Politico: “Obama writes to the CIA”
- Washington Post: “CIA deaths on the job”
- Marc Ambinder (Atlantic Monthly): “The CIA massacre, an update”
- Joe Klein (Time): “This just doesn’t happen”