Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
Release Decision: 
Original Classification: 
Document Page Count: 
Document Creation Date: 
December 19, 2016
Document Release Date: 
December 20, 2005
Sequence Number: 
Case Number: 
Publication Date: 
April 27, 1983
Content Type: 
PDF icon CIA-RDP91-00901R000500150024-4.pdf160.55 KB
Approved For Release 2006/01/12: CIA-RDP91-00901R0 PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER Embassy deaths cam By Frank Greve . 1n9uur, '.ashMgmn Sw'euu WASHINGTON - The terrorist bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Bei rut virtually wiped out the CIA's key station in the Middle East, a congres- sional intelligence specialist on the Middle East said yesterday.- As -many as nine.'American . CIA agents.-and support 'staff spersonnel . perished. in the Apri1.18.attack,-the most ' devastating' in -CIA history;-ac--. cording to agency sources. Key Leba- ~neae sources also are believed' to have died. "The loss would have been less af. they'd 'gotten Habib and Draper," said the intelligence specialist, refer- ring to special US envoy Philip C. Habit' and his assistant. Morris Drap- er. A senior White House official yesterday agreed that the CIA opera-. tion in Beirut was practically de- stroyed with the deaths of its person- nel. Officially, the CL-% acknowledges only one death, that of Robert Clay- ton Ames, 49. who was director of the agency's office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia.. Ames. ?a Philadelphia native, had served with high visibility as a Middle East ex- ,pert in the Carter and Reagan admin- istrations. Secretary of State George P. Shultz and. his .predecessor, Alex- ander M. Haig Jr.,_ both considered Ames a key analyst, and he personal= ly. briefed President Reagan on Leba. Pon n-a month ago. Ames, making his first official visit to Beirut in five years, arrived there April 17 and apparently was meeting -with CIA personnel',at 1:02 pzLPei- rut time, wheii the blast occurred. The group had convened ?on as :high -floor in a position directly above the site where more than 300 pounds of explosives were detonated. At,least 49-people, including 17 Americans, ' were killed at the embassy., - ? _..The timing and precision of the attack have led to speculation in the, intelligence-,community, that Ames and his colleagues were targets of the terrorists. A White House offi- cial, who said be had reviewed cable traffic relating to the explosion, r6- jetted that theory, however. The Muslim Holy War. which claimed responsibi)iity for the bomb- ing. is an underground group of Shi- ite Muslim fundamentalists in Leba- non who support lranian; ':leader Ayatollah" 2tihdllah dibumeini rand are vying lto'toment aniranian-style` revolution in Lebanon., Ames, who served Richard Helms when he was US, ambassador to Iran and who later advised the Carter ,administration on,the lrau hostages,' would have been a prize target for the group. Initial reports in the Lebanese press said that both Habib and Drap- er would have been in the embassy at the time of the blast had they not been delayed at the Lebanese presi- dential palace in Baabde. Habib and U.S Ambassador Robert Dillon, him- self slightly wounded in the explo- sion, have since denied the reports. The first suggestion that CIA per- sonnel other than Ames might have died in the attack emerged last week when the State Department offered only terse, gap-filled biographies of many victims. Traditionally, such vague biographies have been indica? tors of CIA employment. Because many of the slain employ- ees had worked as diplomats and representali ves of o; .er U.S'govern- ment agencies, identifying them would cause great political embar- rassment and gravely endanger sources and operatives. And because it fears such a result, the CIA tradi- tionally has declined toidentify .per- sonnel killed in the line of duty. This proved, however, to be an impossible task in the wake of the highly publi- cized bombing in Beirut. To afford CIA and other intelli- gence agents further protection, Congress has made it illegal .10 dis- close their identities in the press. The exception -- Ames - was too, widely known not to be linkedto the agency. Lebanese victims of the embassy attack also have been only vaguely and belatedly identified by U.S. many intelligence experts to -co elude that -key Lebanese sources, , -well as the American operatives, mi yj, have perished. Among CIA officials. seven is the; lowest estimate of agency dead, wihtwo sources putting the n amber at nine. In 36 years of operation, there. have never been ? as-'many'CIA em-. ?TloyeesVdlled'in"a single- adccideixt;". '-officials said. Before last 'weep's deaths; only 38 intelligence-officers bad been killed in the agency's -histow Approved For Release 2006/01/12 : CIA-RDP91-00901 R000500150024-4 1?;TI C' z or, t . r r ed For Relea ~2 1T~a R6w -0090'1R00050 STAT :surprising that the bizarre relation- ship between the Carter adminis- plained. :tRration icharchard He anelms is former left CIA unexplained. history by is important because Helms This .'dime-store was given a pas by Carter on a 12-count perjury indictment over -lies he told Congress about the de- ~+ ~+~ "Stabilization of Chile by the CIA. l~?lel After plea bargaining and getting two years probation, Helms ended up as an adviser to Carter on Iran. "Power and Principle," by 2big- since Helms and the Shah attended view Brzezinski. Farrar, Straus and prep school together and Helms -Giroux, S22.50 was paying off his legal bills by felling-his influence with the Shah s Considering Brzezinskisi :tised candor on Iran, it is especially :1.o American companies, it might have been nice to know what advice Helms gave Carter on Iran. Brzezinski, the dime store Henry But the most notable absence in Kissinger .of the Carter presidency, this convenient history is discussion has brought us his memoirs. The of the role Brzezinski played in the :587-page book seems almost as long -Billy Carter scandal. as that administration's time in Billy's real difficulties started .power. =after National Security Agency The reader must plow through a ;chief Bobby Ray Inman took inter- .writing style that makes Jerry . cepts to the Justice Department Ford seem like Hemingway. He is that showed Billy had gotten hun- -rewarded with Brzezinski's denial dreds of thousands of dollars from The best sections, on Iran and the .Camp David meetings, are infor- mative, as far as they go. Nothing new, really, just a fairly straight- -forward history without the previ- ous hand-wringing we got from :Carter's own memoirs. The book is homogenized. It deals .not a whit with the dirty games :of real-life global politics. It .ignores the fact that the Carter ,administration had some king-sized .skeletons loitering in White House closets. -national security adviser to secre- ?tary of state and little useful infor- .mation. that he wanted to move from the Libyans. Brzeztnski saw those "-intercepts. yet he writes not a word about the affair. Brzezinski either managed to ..miss a great deal, or has developed an exaggerated sense of discretion that should endear him to Mr. and Mrs. Carter, if not the poor souls :who shell out $22.50 for his tome. Joe Tr-ento is a former reporter :for the News-Journal papers who -recently took a job with the Cable .News Network in Washington. Approved For Release 2006/01/12 : CIA-RDP91-00901 R000500150024-4 By JOE TRENTO