A leading member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has told The Nation that she will launch an investigation into why two Blackwater contractors were among the dead in the December 30 suicide bombing at the CIA station at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan. “The Intelligence Committees and the public were led to believe that the CIA was phasing out its contracts with Blackwater and now we find out that there is this ongoing presence,” said Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky, chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, in an interview. “Is the CIA once again deceiving us about the relationship with Blackwater?”
In December, the CIA announced that the agency had canceled its contract with Blackwater to work on the agency’s drone bombing campaign in Afghanistan and Pakistan and said Director Leon Panetta ordered a review of all existing CIA contracts with Blackwater. “At this time, Blackwater is not involved in any CIA operations other than in a security or support role,” CIA spokesman George Little said December 11.
But Schakowsky said the fact that two Blackwater personnel were in such close proximity to the December 30 suicide bomber–an alleged double agent, who was reportedly meeting with CIA agents including the agency’s second-ranking officer in Afghanistan when he blew himself up–shows how “deeply enmeshed” Blackwater remains in sensitive CIA operations, including those CIA officials claim it no longer participates in, such as intelligence gathering and briefings with valuable agency assets. [continued…]
At least 13 suspected militants were killed in a tribal region of Pakistan near the Afghan border Wednesday, apparently by missiles fired from unmanned U.S. aircraft, two Pakistani intelligence sources told CNN.
The strikes are the fourth and fifth suspected drone strikes in less than a week, and come after a suicide bomber killed seven Central Intelligence Agency officers and contractors on December 30. [continued…]
Editor’s Comment — Soon after the Khost bombing, unnamed CIA officials promised there would be revenge attacks, yet one has to wonder whether the CIA is now conducting attacks so indiscriminate that they have unequivocally become acts of terrorism. The New York Times reported:
Officials in Afghanistan and Washington said the C.I.A. group in Khost had been particularly aggressive in recent months against the Haqqani network, a militant group that has claimed responsibility for dozens of American deaths in Afghanistan. One NATO official in Afghanistan spoke in stark terms about the attack, saying it had “effectively shut down a key station.”
“These were not people who wrote things down in the computer or in notebooks. It was all in their heads,” he said. The C.I.A. is “pulling in new people from all over the world, but how long will it take to rebuild the networks, to get up to speed? Lots of it is irrecoverable. Lots of it.”
So the CIA is now struggling to get up to speed, the intelligence knowledge possessed by a key group involved in targeting Predator attacks has irrecoverably been lost and Hellfire missiles are raining down.