They are called the Shadow Warriors. Like the military they go willingly into harm’s way. However, unlike their military brethren, they serve without public recognition. Their names will never be known and they will never get the public gratitude so many others who fight the War on Terror receive. The essence of heroism is to put the interests of America ahead of your own and that is precisely what these brave men and women did who served in the intelligence agency. Some have sacrificed their lives. On Wednesday December 30th, 2009, CIA officials were murdered and others were critically wounded at the Camp Chapman base in the eastern Khost province of Afghanistan on the Pakistan border. Retired CIA officer Rob Richer and his wife Kim decided to ride across America on their bikes to honor the fallen, beginning on September 11th. To raise money and awareness he came up with the idea of Pedaling for Patriots where they will bike from Jacksonville Beach, Florida to San Diego, California. NewsRealBlog interviewed him about the project and his feelings about September 11th.
NewsRealBlog: What were your responsibilities in the CIA?
Robert Richer: I had a varied and exciting career in the CIA’s clandestine service. As you can understand, there are limits on how much detail I can provide publicly. It is safe to say that I spent the bulk of my 20 plus years with the Agency serving overseas in locations like Yemen, Tunisia, Nepal, Jordan and Oman. My wife Kim raised our three terrific kids in locations around the world. As hard as it is being a CIA officer overseas, the job of a CIA mom is even harder. Toward the end of my career I held a series of positions at the Agency headquarters involving things like Iraq planning, chief of Middle East operations, and finally as the number two person in the Directorate of Operations.
NRB: Please address the fact that the CIA officials who died in the line of duty are the unknown heroes. They and their families can’t get the national recognition or public gratitude other heroes get.
Robert Richer: Because of the sensitivity of what they do, many CIA officers must remain anonymous even in death. About 40 percent of the 102 stars etched on the Agency’s Wall of Honor represent people whose identities still cannot be publicly revealed.(Each star representing someone who has died in the line of duty) The American people are wonderful about how they reach out and support the families of the military fallen. This is how it should be. Unfortunately, the families of some CIA officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice are unable to receive the same full measure of public support in their hour of grief. This is a reality the CIA officers willingly accept when they enter the clandestine service.