FLASHBACK: April 18, 1983: U.S. Embassy Attacked in Beirut
Unrest in Lebanon
In September 1982, the Multinational Force in Lebanon, composed of U.S. and European military personnel, entered Lebanon to help the Lebanese government maintain stability during the third phase of the Lebanese Civil War (1982-1983). Extremist groups demanded the departure of U.S. and Israeli personnel, who were on the outskirts of Beirut. Among the most active of these groups were Lebanese Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad Organization. The Islamic Jihad Organization engaged in a campaign of kidnappings and attacks, and claimed responsibility for the Beirut embassy bombing.
The aftermath of the attacks brought about swift action from Agency and diplomatic officials. Then-Secretary of State George Shultz tasked an advisory panel to investigate the security of diplomatic facilities overseas. The resulting report, informally known as the Inman Report, led to security improvements at embassies, the relocation of many CIA officers to more secure locations, and the creation of the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and Diplomatic Security Service, which is the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of State.
The Beirut embassy bombing remains the most lethal attack in the Agency’s history. Several Agency officers were lost; among them were a senior NCS officer visiting the embassy that day, the Agency’s senior officer in Lebanon, and a support officer reporting for her first day at work. All of the fallen are honored with stars engraved on the CIA Memorial Wall at CIA Headquarters.
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