In the early days and weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, a small cadre of Americans with vast amounts of intelligence experience reported to the Langley, Va., headquarters of the CIA. These unsung heroes were dispatched to run operations against the al-Qaida conspirators who leveled the World Trade Center and struck the nerve center of the U.S. military.
The FBI did not have the ability or skills needed to track down and strike the attackers overseas. The Pentagon, with F22s, nuclear aircraft carriers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and battalions of the best armor in the history of mankind, was like an elephant attacked by a mouse — mighty, but helpless in its mammoth rage.
Our best hope was in the hands of the gray-bearded volunteer CIA intelligence professionals. Supplementing the skeleton crew of staff officers left in after President Clinton's anti-intelligence scourging of the CIA, they went to the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, to the most remote and isolated outposts in the world. Sometimes they worked with friendly forces, and sometimes they worked alone.
They focused like a laser beam on one thing: Stop the next attack. Their mission: Seek and destroy the terrorist planners, facilitators, trainers, financiers, and their infrastructure wherever they were.
Twenty-four-seven, the over-extended CIA officers launched dozens of initiatives. The CIA Counterterrorism Center’s motto, “Deny, Disrupt, Destroy,” became the reason for our living.
We left our families for months on end and sacrificed personal and professional lives to fight the Global War on Terror (GWOT). As I did my part in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa, my family tried to maintain a semblance of normalcy at home. I was home less than six months in three years.
I put my successful and lucrative executive recruiting business on hold for eight years. Finally, after five years of constant travel, my family sacrifice account was overdrawn. I came home. Others did not, and they sacrificed the quality of their family lives, the profitability of their businesses, and more.
In contrast, where was Eric Holder? Before leaving President Clinton’s employ, he orchestrated the pardons of several Puerto Rican separatist terrorists. In 2003, as a partner in the Washington law firm of Covington & Burling, Holder’s client, Chiquita Brands, admitted paying to support terrorist death squads in Colombia and paid a $25 million fine. During the time my friends worked to disrupt and destroy terrorist networks threatening America, Holder’s firm represented — for free — 16 terrorist detainees at Guantanamo.
Has he made any personal or professional sacrifices since his country was attacked in 2001? If he has, it is difficult to find them. When the special prosecutor comes calling, maybe someone from Covington & Burling can represent my colleagues for free, like they did for Lakhdar Boumedienne and other terrorists in Gitmo.
The Holder/Obama Global War on the CIA (GWCIA) has only just begun, as it debuted with “grisly revelations” of revving drills, gunshots in the next cell, and threats against a terrorist’s children. The GWOT is not for the faint of heart, nor the queasy. No war ever has been. There may be slight improprieties stashed in the CIA’s closets, but the liberal-appeasing GWCIA is foolhardy and dangerous.
Mike Spann was the first to die in the GWOT. He won’t have to worry about the Holder/Obama GWCIA. But others in the agency are very worried. While we sacrificed to achieve incremental victories, Holder and Obama plotted and schemed — not against those “evil-mongers” who killed our countrymen, but against those of us hunting the terrorists. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. The odor is not from Langley, Mr. Holder.
Kent Clizbe is a former member of the CIA's Directorate of Operations. In 2001, in the aftermath of Sept. 11, he returned to the CIA to serve multiple counter-terrorism deployments. In 2005, he was awarded the Intelligence Community Seal Medallion for his anti-terrorism work.