Dead Drop: July 23

LEAVE NO MARKER BEHIND:  The US is rapidly pulling its forces out of Afghanistan and in the country where US and allied troops have fought and died for the past two decades, efforts are being made to remove important physical reminders of the US presence.  Stars and Stripes reports that, as coalition troops pulled out of Bagram airbase, officials scrambled to bring along war mementos so they wouldn’t fall into the hands of whomever comes next. One example was the jersey of former NFL player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman which was on display at the Bagram USO center. USO employee Kimberly Culverhouse-Steadman was sent to Bagram to help close the center. But when she flew out of the country, she tried to bring along two suitcases – one with her personal belongings and the other with memorabilia including the Tillman jersey. Government officials reportedly told her that she could only bring one bag – so she left her personal stuff and brought out the keepsakes.  The Tillman jersey is now at USO headquarters in Arlington, VA.  The story got us pondering. It’s one thing to pack up small mementos but another to remove larger memorials. We wonder what – if anything – is being done for historic markers like the stone memorial at Qala-i-Jongi prison honoring CIA officer Mike Spann or the plaque placed in Khost by former CIA Director Leon Panetta honoring the seven CIA officers killed by a suicide bomber in 2009?  The inscription quotes from Isaiah 6:8: “And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am; send me.”  If anyone knows the status of those memorials – drop us a note.

READY FOR MY CAMEO: Former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence (say that five times fast) Susan Gordon made a cameo appearance this week at the confirmation hearing for Dr. Stacey Dixon, the Biden Administration’s nominee to become the next PDDNI. Gordon, who famously exited the role during the Trump administration, offered high praise for Dixon, who told Senators that the number two at ODNI is “more than a manager, more than a leader; the PDDNI is a problem-solver and bridge-builder.” Dixon was joined by Cipher Brief Expert Matt Olsen – who will have to hang up his Cipher Brief Expert hat as well as his Uber Chief Security and Trust Officer hat if confirmed as the new Assistant Attorney General for National Security – and Thomas Monheim, who told Senators that he isn’t expecting to win any popularity contests if he’s confirmed as the next Inspector General for the Intelligence Community….because well, why would an IG ever win a popularity contest?

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