The Mystery Dead-RIP

No pictures.  No names.  No job descriptions.  No Such Agency.

Last week we learned of 7 C.I.A. agents who were killed in Afghanistan in one of the remote camps. The agents were killed by a suicide bomber who apparently was working as a double agent. Today, the news showed the bomber’s wife on TV, bragging about her husband and saying he would never work for the Americans or help them. Yet, our people, trained in espionage, trusted this man and allowed him on base with few questions asked.

Furthermore, we really don’t know who these people were. The C.I.A. has not released their names. We know a few names only because their families have spoken to the press. The C.I.A. is known for being a tight knit community and for being very proprietary about their intelligence. Yet, somewhere in this mix we find out that there were 2 Blackwater (now known as Xe LLC) C.I.A. agents also killed. 2 of the C.I.A. agents were women. This too, is highly unusual.

Unfortunately, our glimpse into this tight-knit society is only because of their deaths. One of the women who was killed will probably never be known. The New York Times, after consulting with the C.I.A. has agreed to not release her name. This is serious stuff. The other woman’s name was released by her father.

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Comfort for Mourning Families at Dover AFB


 A dignified transfer is conducted for every U.S. military member who dies in the theater of operation while in the service of their country.  This transfer takes place at Dover Air Force Base. 



Today the New York Times told of a new facility at Dover Air Force Base, where our troops killed in service of their country are flown in from Afghanistan and Iraq.  Much will change, for the better,  for our military families who have to greet the unthinkable–their son, daughter, husband, wife, father’s casket. 

Since April 2009, the first month of a Pentagon policy that allowed media coverage of the transfers, the remains of 366 service members from Iraq and Afghanistan have passed through Dover, the main point of entry for the nation’s war dead to return home. They have been met by more than 1,000 family members, whose travel and lodging expenses to Dover are paid for by the military.

Families coming to witness the dignified transfer of their loved ones killed in Afghanistan and Iraq had no space to grieve or talk.  They often were in a crowded space with other families.  Sometimes the cramped quarters led to unpleasant circumstances.   Suzie Schwartz, the wife of Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff, witnessed some of the tension and stress that was exchanged between families awaiting the arrival of the deceased and told her husband that something had to be done. 

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