Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Secret Deaths of CIA Operatives: A Fascinating History of Espionage ...

1 comment:

Tim Nolan said...

The Memorial Wall is a memorial at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia. It honors CIA employees who died in the line of service.

The Memorial Wall is located in the Original Headquarters Building lobby on the north wall. There are 111 stars carved into the white Alabama marble wall, each one representing an employee who died in the line of service. Paramilitary officers of the CIA's Special Activities Division comprise the majority of those memorialized.

A black Moroccan goatskin-bound book, called the "Book of Honor," sits in a steel frame beneath the stars, its "slender case jutting out from the wall just below the field of stars," and is "framed in stainless steel and topped by an inch-thick plate of glass." Inside it shows the stars, arranged by year of death and, when possible, lists the names of employees who died in CIA service alongside them. The identities of the unnamed stars remain secret, even in death. In 1997, there were 70 stars, 29 of which had names. There were 79 stars in 2002, 83 in 2004, 90 in 2009, 107 in 2013, and 111 in 2014. 80 of the 111 entries in the book contain names, while the other employees are represented only by a gold star followed by a blank space. Douglas Mackiernan - The first CIA employee to be killed in the line of duty and the first star on the wall. Mackiernan had worked for the State Department in China since 1947. When the People's Republic of China was established at the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the State Department ordered that the Tihwa (Ürümqi) consulate where Mackiernan was stationed as vice consul be closed, and personnel were to leave the country immediately. Mackiernan, however, was ordered to stay behind, destroy cryptographic equipment, monitor the situation, and aid anti-communist Nationalists. Mackiernan fled south toward India after most escape routes were cut off, along with Frank Bessac, an American Fulbright Scholar who was in Tihwa, and three White Russians. Although Mackiernan and his party survived the Taklamakan Desert and Himalayas, Mackiernan was shot by Tibetan border guards, probably because they mistook them as Communist infiltrators. Although Mackiernan's death was reported on the front cover of the New York Times at the time of his death and his name appears on a plaque in the State Department lobby, the CIA did not reveal his service, because he was operating under diplomatic cover. His star was acknowledged to family members in a secret memorial ceremony at the Wall in 2000 but remained officially undisclosed until 2006, when his name was placed into the CIA's Book of Honor.[11] Jerome P. Ginley - Killed in 1951, during a clandestine mission in East Germany along with Joseph Schussler, a US Army Intelligence Officer.