Phi Beta Iota: This is the single most relevant comment, by an individual present at Khost, on the reality behind the incompetence of CIA at all levels from D/CIA to the “mob” that got itself killed in Khost. See original post with link, Journal: CIA Leads the “Walking Dead” in USA.
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No one wants to be the person to speak ill of the dead. The truth, however, must trump sensibilities in this matter for a number of reasons, first and foremost being that of using this catastrophic incident as a case study in how not to conduct operations in espionage.
This horrible blunder was at once both easily predictable and preventable. I cannot think of one principle of security that was not violated here. Violations fommented out of the apparent incompetence, obvious arrogance, blind ambition and elitism of “Kathy.” Having been warned repeatedly, constantly, continuously concerning suspicious developments in the days leading up to the “meet”, Kathy was stubbornly and arrogantly dismissive of sound wisdom, counsel and warning. She marginalized and widely disregarded those who were there to conduct and advise her on ground tactical operations. The proof of this is that none were present at the “welcoming party” because they knew that it was not tactically sound, hence no “knuckle draggers” were killed or maimed; they just had to clean up the mess, which they did in the magnificent fashion that is their consistent calling card.
Kathy was a very insecure person, an elitist who felt the constant need to remind everyone that she was a Harvard graduate, an indicator in and of itself. Shockingly paranoid and narcisisistic, she was convinced that the “knuckle draggers” were there to undermine her authority when nothing could have been further from the truth. The “knuckle draggers” can only succeed when they have the ear and the support of the “boss.” She once bemoaned the fact that a reported effort to kill the local U.S. leader erroneously identified a male counterpart as their target. She actually made the statement “What do you mean they’re targeting him? Everyone should know by now that a woman is in charge here! They should be targeting me!”
Kathy was not even a marginally competent manager, leave alone a competent leader. This is not entirely her fault because nothing in her background had prepared her for leadership. That organization does not train leaders but rather bureaucrat managers. “Kathy”, like everyone in her ascending chain of command thought they had discovered the “golden egg.” In their ambition, greed and lust for glory they developed tunnel vision, losing all situational awareness.
Because they are all so distantly removed from the original charter of espionage and asset handling, they organized a welcoming committee instead of an asset meet. When a final word of protest came from the the security element (among others) about her intended plan of not searching the asset for fear of offending him, she said “I want to make this seem as if it’s his birthday party.” At least two employees were spared death by virtue of the fact that at the instant of the detonation they were some 150 meters away by the dining facility…. bringing the birthday cake. One cannot make this shit up, as it were.
I read a newspaper account a few days after the incident in which the Director made the statement, and I paraphrase “all proper security procedures were followed and those personnel who were killed or wounded were outside the designated 50 meter safety zone.” He either blatantly lied or was blatantly lied to. One is not necessarily better than the other nor does it necessarily absolve the other of responsibility.
This, as I said, should be used as a case study on “things not to do” but instead we memorialized her, eulogized her, put a star on a wall and then buried her in the hallowed final resting place for America’s real heroes. Bud McFarlane wrote recently and most appropriately on the passing of Congressman Murtha of PA “The nation is not better off for his death but rather it is better off for his lack of presence in the leadership of the country” No truer words can be spoken of “Kathy.” She lived for a short while after the blast. I hope she was lucid enough to ponder the magnitude of the calamity wrought by her dismissive arrogance, intransigence and blind ambition. She got what she deserved but took seven other innocent souls with her and changed forever the lives of many more whether it be in the form of physical disfigurement, emotional scarring or both. Harsh for sure but we tend to sweep under the rug those uncomfortable things which we are unwilling to confront in an intellectually honest way. I am one to be very forgiving of honest mistakes because I make more mistakes than most but catastrophe borne out solupsistic arrogance and blind ambition can and should only be defined as criminal negligence.
Posted 3/18/2010 2:30:40pm