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.
Their names probably will not be among those read at Memorial Day memorials around the country this weekend. Like many CIA officers, their service remained a secret in both life and death, marked only by anonymous stars on the wall at CIA headquarters and blank entries in its book of honour.
Like many CIA officers, their service remained a secret in both life and death, marked only by anonymous stars on the wall at CIA headquarters and blank entries in its book of honour.
Their CIA ties were described to The Associated Press by a half-dozen current and former U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because Shah’s and Hardy’s jobs are still secret, even now.
The deaths weighed heavily on many at the CIA, particularly the two senior officers who were running operations in Africa during the attack. Over the past decade, as the CIA waged war against al-Qaida, those officers have taken on central roles in counterterrorism. Both were deeply involved in hunting down bin Laden and planning the raid on the terrorist who killed their colleagues.
"History has shown that tyrants who threaten global peace and freedom must eventually face their natural enemies: America’s war fighters, and the silent warriors of our Intelligence Community," CIA Director Leon Panetta wrote in a Memorial Day message to agency employees.
Officials say Shah was among those who went to the window when shooting began outside the embassy gates. Most who did were killed when the massive bomb exploded. He was 38. Hardy was also killed in the blast. She was 51.
The U.S. government said both victims were State Department employees. But like all fallen officers, they received private memorial services at CIA headquarters. Every year, their names are among those read at a ceremony for family members and colleagues.
US Embassy bombing: Nairobi, Kenya, 1998.Image: Source
Is this truth? Half truth? Timely propaganda? Fabrication? Convenient narrative? Coverup?
Where the CIA is involved, one can only guess.
"Hardy’s daughter, Brandi Plants, said she did not want to discuss her mother’s employment. Shah’s widow, Linda, sent word through a neighbour that the topic was still too painful to discuss."
The silence from the families is enduring and uniform to this day. If these two agent’s missions are STILL classified, why let the public know of their deaths if not to capitalize on the release of information? It seems fairly strategic.
Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds alleges Bin Laden Worked for U.S. Right Up Until 9/11. If that’s the case, then his involvement of the operational bombing of the embassy compound in Kenya in 1998 would mean CIA involvement as well.
And following that thread, who, then, is responsible for the deaths of the two CIA officers and the hundreds of other victims in the series of attacks?
Was Bin Laden’s ’death’ truly "payback" as claimed in the article, or does this Memorial Day inclusion of two new names on the roster of so many tragedies just further the Bin Laden bogeyman narrative?
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