Cables

Doubling Down On Irony

I cringed as I read through Morrell’s opinion piece, wishing he had stayed neutral in his political leanings, as he stated he did during his career. Not because I disagree with a lot of his points...

30 December 2009

I was speaking with a former colleague recently about writing a piece about her remembrances of the 30 December 2009 Camp Chapman suicide bombing that we have covered here on Inglorious Amateurs before when she surprised me with something that I had not expected. 

She commented that her biggest memory of the event was being bewildered at how shaken up her fellow officers were back at Hqs, even weeks after the bombing. Her particular feeling being it was terrible, but we had already lost so many in conflicts and it was time to pull it together and move on, instead of feel sorry for yourself.

On the surface this might seem insensitive and harsh, especially towards the memories of those lost, but it was an important reminder for me in particular. I have been extremely lucky in my service to have not had to attend lots of memorial services for fallen colleagues. Its entirely likely I am in the minority here though. And though its important to always remember those who gave all to our country, its equally important not to get bogged down in that and drive forward. So I write this here this morning in memorial to my lost colleagues from 30 December 2009, to remember their sacrifice but also to remind myself there is still work to do and its my responsibility to do it, looking forward, not back.

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
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* Recently I was fortunate enough to have a few hours to kill in NoVa, so I stopped by Arlington National Cemetery. Regrettably I missed Darren LaBonte's grave, but did my own tour of the Agency officers I know of buried there. I've included the shots of Elizabeth Hanson and Jennifer Matthews here, as they relate. We are putting together a cleared tour of former Agency officer's graves at Arlington that will be coming in a future post.

Veterans Day

Since we cannot identify our current Veterans serving the IC, here are some of those we remember today, from a recent trip to Arlington National Cemetery.

William F Buckley
William F Buckley

Section 59 Site 346

Michael M. Deuel
Michael M. Deuel

Section 35 Site 156

Lawrence N Freedman
Lawrence N Freedman

Section 8 Site 10177

Johnny Micheal Spann
Johnny Micheal Spann

Section 34 Site 2359

Douglas A Zembiec
Douglas A Zembiec

Section 60 Site 8621


The next time you are near our nation's capitol and can stop in, stop by and spend some time walking Arlington National Cemetery. Its quite a place to take in. 

Thank you all for your service.

Asset Termination

To the non-practitioners of our line of work, particularly those who like to read the more salacious authors of the genre, termination of an asset carries a particularly nefarious connotation. It is assumed to mean the actual killing and/or some other means of disposing of an asset. We all know that this is one of those instances where a word is just a word, nothing more.

Journalistic Discretion

Journalistic Discretion
I’m all about information. With a career in the investigations and intelligence world that should not come as a surprise to anyone reading articles on Inglorious Amateurs. One caveat is that I really dislike ambiguity, hedging, conjecture and embellishing with my information.  Simple enough, right?

Virginia Hall

Virginia Hall
The reason I keep Virginia Hall in mind when raising my daughter is that I, for one, want my daughter to become a strong independent woman that, like Virginia, decided she wanted to do something and she did it as good as, if not better, than her male counterparts.  She wasn’t arrogant, definitely confident, but not arrogant.

All Filler No Killer

In his new book Baer draws from his own decades old stack of notes on 3x5 cards (his own case file, as it were) to tease out a narrative around the life and “works” of Imad Mughniyeh aka Hajj Radwan. Mughniyeh was a mysterious member of Hezbollah and agent of the Iranian government. That description isn’t really explaining enough about him, but needless to say he is believed to the driving force behind the many Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad Organization bombings and kidnappings carried out from the 1980s until his death by car bomb in Damascus, Syria in 2008.

Camp Chapman Anniversary

Camp Chapman Anniversary
An ongoing goal here at the Inglorious Amateurs will always be to honor the memory of those who have given their lives in the performance of their duties serving the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). This month, we remember and honor the 7 Americans who were killed at Camp Chapman 5 years ago on December 30th: Jennifer Lynne Matthews, CIA Officer Scott Michael Roberson, CIA Officer Darren LaBonte, CIA Officer Elizabeth Hanson, CIA Officer Harold Brown, CIA Officer Dane Clark Paresi, CIA security contractor Jeremy Wise, CIA security contractor

A Memorial

33 lives lost, for a civilian agency is quite significant. I know I’ve read plenty of news stories about a risk adverse Agency culture. Its either that or they are gung ho cowboys. When I was in I remember having an easier time letting those jabs glance off than I do now that I have the luxury of actually getting upset and trying to respond to them. After all, I was usually reading them in the internal news and could only comment to friends via SameTime.

Vexing Vetting

I think most within the CIA would be the first to point out that executing any Covert Action program that includes the arming and training of a foreign fighting force is a sketchy endeavor. Its also at the core of what the Agency was enacted to do, and takes its queues from its predecessor, in the OSS arming and training of resistance fighters during WWII. In short, this is not a new problem.

The Preservation of the Intelligence History of Navy Hill

ou can help to by sending your comments by email to potomachill@gsa.gov ( Subect: NEPA Scoping Comments) or mail to: Jill Springer, NEPA Specialist  U.S. General Services Administration, NCR  301 7th St. SW, Room 4004  Washington, DC 20407 Please also consider writing your congressional representative and both your senators to ask for their help in securing both a prompt hearing before the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office and appropriate historical recognition for OSS headquarters.  To avoid confusion, your letter or email should mention that the D.C. Historic Preservation Office lists the headquarters site under its current official name, the “E Street Complex.” Join us in helping honor the sacrifice of so many of our OSS and CIA predecessors by preserving this important piece of our nation’s intelligence history.

The CIA Book of Honor

Across the lobby, on the north wall, is another memorial, and Book of Honor. This one is flanked by both the American flag and the Agency flag. Above the cased book is another inscription, "IN HONOR OF THOSE MEMBERS OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY ,"