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CIA honours lives lost in terror fight

Among those killed is Jacqueline Van Landingham who died in Pak in 1995; CIA did not disclose how she died

Written by Associated Press | Washington | Published: May 28, 2012 1:42:22 am

The CIA is remembering those lost in the hidden,often dangerous world of espionage,adding a new star to the intelligence agency’s memorial wall and over a dozen names to its Book of Honour.

The new star carved into the wall is for Jeffrey Patneau,a young officer killed in a car crash in Yemen in September 2008. “Jeff proved that he had boundless talent,courage and innovativeness to offer to our country in its fight against terrorism,’’ said CIA Director David Petraeus at a private ceremony at CIA headquarters.

Petraeus’ tribute was the first public identification of Patneau. The stars on the memorial wall at headquarters in Langley,Virginia,bear no names.

The wall now commemorates the lives of 103 Americans who died in service of the CIA,“never for acclaim,always for country,’’ Petraeus said at a rememberance. The rememberance came days ahead of Memorial Day,when the nation remembers its military veterans and those who died in war.

The addition of 15 names to the CIA’s Book of Honour means family members can openly acknowledge where their loved ones worked when they died. Leslianne Shedd was lost when hijackers forced down her plane over the Indian Ocean,killing more than 125 people. “Everybody who was on the plane with her who survived said she was not scared,’’ her sister,Corinne Collie,said Saturday. “She was saying it’s all going to be okay,holding the hand of the person sitting next to her.’’

Collie says the agency approached her family a year ago,saying it was now possible to acknowledge her death,likely meaning the cases she had worked on had been wrapped up,or staff she worked with had either retired or were no longer in harm’s way. Collie said being able to share what her sister did has been a relief. Shedd’s cover was working for the State Department. “The biggest relief is my parents … get to acknowledge and brag about her,especially my dad,’’ she said.

Like Shedd,most of those honoured were killed in the clandestine war on terrorism. Matthew Gannon was among the victims of the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie,Scotland. Molly Hardy was killed in the August 1998 suicide bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi.

Jacqueline Van Landingham was killed in a terror attack in Pakistan in 1995. The CIA did not disclose how she died. CIA officers face constant threat in Pakistan,hunting and hunted by militants. US officials say militants gets support from elements of the Pakistani government.

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