Subjects: Asia news
Last month, 7 CIA operatives stationed at a forward operating base in the mountains of Afghanistan were blown up by a suicide bomber. Among other things, the tragedy highlighted the CIA’s transformation into a paramilitary organization that operates on the front-lines of America’s war on terror.
The dead operatives had been begun a campaign against a radical nut job known as Sirajuddin Haqqani and his woefully enslaved followers. This crew has claimed responsibility for killing dozens of US soldiers.
In the past year, the CIA has amassed dozens of forward operating bases like this in eastern and southern Afghanistan. In so doing, it has exposed its operatives to enormous risk.
In the 1983 Beirut car bombing, remember, it took a car bomb loaded with 2,000 pounds of explosives to kill eight CIA officers who were based at the heavily fortified American Embassy. All it took this time was one guy dressed in loose-fitting Afghan army fatigues.
These remote outposts are just one feature of the newly militarized CIA. The clandestine agency also uses unmanned drone attack aircraft to pin down and kill nut jobs in Pakistan, and has many operatives in Yemen, home of Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the notorious testicle bomber.
According to the New York Times, the CIA has long-since maintained a paramilitary branch known as the Special Activities Division. But the branch was small and rarely used.
Things changed after 9/11 however, when President George W. Bush expanded the agency’s purview to include the capture and/or killing of al Qaeda operatives. The new responsibilities were assigned to Special Activities, which deftly moves and out of countries where the US military can’t operate legally.
The CIA’s expanded mission has included at various times activities such as running a war in Pakistan, organizing secret jails where terrorist suspects could be interrogated, and running an assassination program that once outsourced sensitive operations to Blackwater, a privately-held security company.
President Obama shut down the prisons and called off the dogs, literally, when it came to interrogating terrorism suspects, but green lighted the CIA’s drone program.