One thing depraved this manner comes
Sure, the lights had been blinking purple, because the 9/11 Fee would later report, and just like the witch’s ominous warning in Macbeth, one other assault was coming, however the place? Regardless of the East Africa embassy bombings, the strike in opposition to the USS Cole, and alarming intelligence reflections, we nonetheless discovered ourselves in shock. From many time zones away, I sat frozen, glued to pictures of the Towers vaporizing, not figuring out then a childhood buddy and first responder was among the many hundreds who had perished.
My CIA Station, like others across the globe, snapped into motion. Being small with distinctive authorities and working within the shadows permits for a speedy response to crises. We labored with overseas companions to lock down these with recognized or suspected terrorist ties to preempt the following assault and domesticate new sources, whereas getting ready to carry the combat to these accountable. A CIA crew can be on the bottom in Afghanistan inside two weeks.
Dealing with one of many CIA’s al-Qaeda penetrations on the time, I referred to as for an emergency assembly, greeting my agent pistol on the prepared, not figuring out for certain simply the place his loyalties stood. Though contrite for what his colleagues had executed, he couldn’t conceal satisfaction for his or her extraordinary accomplishment. And whereas he knew nothing of the assault, and can be invaluable in foiling future plots, maybe his most enduring contribution to me was explaining his sentiments, and theirs.
Within the ensuing 20 years, many would perish among the many harmless and responsible alike, however for these of us who do not forget that day, the true story of 9/11 is how life modified. Like my agent, these amongst each pals and foes in distant lands lengthy brutalized by the ravages of warfare, repression, and poverty would recommend that change was the purpose.
Right now’s disquieting regular of suspicion and hate amongst neighbors of various coloration, faith, and politics is the backdrop for an America now accessorized by obstacles, metallic detectors, bomb sniffing canine, and police on our streets in fight apparel, bearing assault rifles. Additional away, dying, devastation, and refugee camps paint the canvas amongst too many international locations to call, a number of wherein the U.S. has fought.
If Individuals are to be spared the horrors suffered by different nations with numerous ethnic communities and politics who up to now coexisted peacefully however at the moment are locked in bloody civil warfare, the lesson is that the remedy shouldn’t be worse than the illness. Battle would possibly at instances be thrust upon us and inevitable. However with extra forethought to the results, we will management the dimensions and the instruments with which it’s fought.
Douglas London retired from the CIA in 2019 after 34 years as a Senior Operations Officer. He teaches at Georgetown College, is a Non-resident Scholar on the Center East Institute, and is the creator of the guide “The Recruiter,” in regards to the CIA’s submit 9/11 transformation. Comply with him @DouglasLondon5.