How Will the Killing of 7 Agents Affect the CIA?

A tragic day for agents in Afghanistan raises questions about security and morale

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Seven CIA agents in a gym at the U.S. outpost in Khost, Afghanistan were killed by a suicide bomber on Wednesday. The attacker reportedly walked in unhindered, spurring speculation that this was an inside job performed by a low-level Afghan employee on the base. President Obama has offered his condolences in a letter to the CIA. How will this affect the agency?

  • More Security at a Greater Cost, suggests former ABC correspondent Gretchen Peters who spoke to Laura Rozen of Politico. "If this type of tactic becomes more common, it will cause security costs at the bases to rise dramatically. The military and other security agencies may have to bring in expensive foreign security officers, who charge hundreds if not thousands of dollars per day, and it will mean there have to be stricter security procedures at the gates of the compounds."
  • Makes the Afghanistan Mission Much Harder, writes Joe Klein of Time. Klein argues that the CIA and military may be rushing to train recruits for the Afghan military without being "as vigilant as we should be about who's being trained and armed." He concludes, "The mission in Afghanistan, always a longshot to succeed (albeit, I believe, a worthy one) just got a lot harder."
  • Blow to Morale Bobby Ghosh of Time reports on early reactions. "The U.S. intelligence community is reeling from one of the worst days in the CIA's history...several former CIA officers tell TIME the deaths will cast a pall over the Agency."
  • Perhaps Inevitable, says Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic. "The agency's American operatives are most definitely combatants in this war... With the CIA's massive footprint in Afghanistan, some sort of tragedy was probably inevitable."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.