CIA Base Chief Among 7 Killed in Afghan Blast

Suicide bomber may have been invited as potential informant
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2009 5:18 PM CST
Map locates Khost province, Afghanistan where a suicide bomber targeted U.S. personel

(Newser) – Among the seven CIA employees and contractors killed in yesterday's suicide bombing in Afghanistan was the agency's chief officer at the post. One former intelligence official called the attack "devastating" to the CIA's operations in the country. "There was some tremendous talent lost," the official tells the Wall Street Journal. The blast marks grim milestones: It was the deadliest strike against Americans in Afghanistan since October, and it's the first time a suicide bomber struck inside a US facility there.

How it happened remains unclear. The AP, quoting anonymous former officials, says the bomber may have been invited to the Chapman military base as a potential informant. He hadn't been searched when he set off the explosives. "Yesterday's tragedy reminds us that the men and women of the CIA put their lives at risk every day to protect this nation," said CIA chief Leon Panetta. Six others were wounded in the blast.

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