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Highly secret CIA capability in a war that has until now remained under wraps.
November 18, 2001 11:41 AM   Subscribe

Highly secret CIA capability in a war that has until now remained under wraps. Didnt we think the US Special Forces and the UK SAS were the first ground troops in Afghanistan? Wrong. "The CIA is mounting a hidden war in Afghanistan with secret paramilitary units on the ground......hardened veterans who have retired (!) from the U.S. military.... men who do not wear military uniforms...." Another good one from Bob Woodward. Wish he and Seymour Hersh would duke it out again for the honor of top investigative reporter, although, perhaps others out there are more deserving of the title.
posted by Voyageman (6 comments total)

 
My guess is that this story didn't take very much work on Woodward's part. If I remember correctly, he wrote a book on the CIA, and has some contacts there, so someone from the Agency probably gave him the story.

I'm impressed by the investigative reporters who find out things that everyone is trying to actively cover up (like Woodward's watergate work).
posted by drezdn at 11:58 AM on November 18, 2001


things that everyone is trying to actively cover up (like Woodward's watergate work).
drezdn, Woodward is an amazing investigative reporter, one of the best. BUT: the Watergate situation was not only about "everyone trying to cover it up". what's really interesting is that all the other papers and tv stations didn't care one bit about Woodstein's stories -- the greatness of the Post people (the late mrs. Graham, Bradlee, Rosenfeld and the others) is exactly that they believed in the story since 1972, when all the others were writing about Nixon's triumph in the elections. Many, many damaging stories were published before the election, but nobody gave a damn. Except the Post -- and they were so right.
It's pretty hard to believe in an era of pack journalism and media cycles that follow Drudge's leads -- but the Post was basically the only paper who followed that story for a long time.
Amazing reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, but they were lucky to find editors and a publisher who didn't give up
posted by matteo at 12:29 PM on November 18, 2001


I don't know much, obviously, about the military or intelligence actions of the US in Afghanistan. But a family friend of mine is a Vietnam vet with the Congressional Medal of Honour (he didn't tell me, I looked it up on a website!) who a few days after September 11th was called to Washington. He wouldn't tell me anything about what it was for, but I did get the impression that it was exactly as the story above describes - some sort of secret mission into Afghanistan, or the planning for it. I also know from what this guy has told me that ex-military officers do indeed get asked to do one-off jobs of this sort now and again, sometimes for the Government and sometimes for ex-colleagues. But obviously it's all very murky so I can't claim to know for sure what goes on.
posted by skylar at 12:39 PM on November 18, 2001


Didnt we think the US Special Forces and the UK SAS were the first ground troops in Afghanistan? Wrong.

From the WP article: "On Sept. 27, one of these units was the first U.S. force to enter the country in the current terrorism war, paving the way for U.S. Special Operations forces."

This article (couldn't find a link to the Sunday Times' original story), puts the SAS in Afghanistan on September 21. It also claims they entered the country 5 days earlier. Of course, the MOD deny all knowledge of it...
posted by dlewis at 1:53 PM on November 18, 2001


Also from today's WP, Target Approval Delays Cost Air Force Key Hits , by Thomas E. Ricks:
"...recurring friction between the military's operations and what amounts to a parallel war being waged by the CIA, which has played a significant combat role in Afghanistan, carrying out its own airstrikes with unmanned aircraft and deploying covert operatives on the ground, officials said...But the CIA has been reluctant to inform the military what it is doing in Afghanistan, two Air Force officers said. 'That's the way they operate," said one. 'It's getting better. It's not fixed.' Despite the presence of Air Force liaison officers at CIA headquarters, Air Force officers monitoring Kabul and other sites in Afghanistan occasionally have been surprised to see an explosion, only to learn later that the CIA was firing a missile. 'Something would happen, and we would say, "What was that?"" the other officer said."
posted by Carol Anne at 2:51 PM on November 18, 2001


From todays NY Times (reg required) A New Story for 2 Rival Reporters From the 1970's
posted by Voyageman at 5:44 AM on November 19, 2001


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