CIA Honors Four Fallen Officers

Monday, May 21, 2007

By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer



The CIA recently added four stars to the Memorial Wall at its headquarters and honored the fallen officers those stars represent during a ceremony Monday.

The wall pays tribute to the agency personnel and contractors _ now totaling 87 _ who died while performing national security missions.

Those remembered on Monday include Rachel Dean of Stanardsville, Va., who joined the agency in January 2005. She was killed in September in a car accident in Kazakhstan.

Two Cold War communications officers _ James McGrath of Middletown, Conn., and Stephen Kasarda Jr. of McKees Rocks, Pa. _ were honored a half-century after their deaths.

McGrath died in January 1957 while servicing a high-power transmitter in Germany. Kasarda was killed in May 1960 while in Southeast Asia, supporting a CIA air supply mission to Tibet. The CIA said both deaths were accidental.

According to a CIA statement, dozens of retired CIA communications officers who were instrumental in researching their cases attended the ceremony.

The identity of the fourth officer _ like 32 others on the wall _ remains classified.

Speaking to the hundreds of employees and family members gathered for the annual event, CIA Director Michael Hayden said the constellation of stars is more than a memorial. "Each star holds memories of a brave intelligence officer whose example we follow, a treasured colleague whose wisdom we keep, or a lost friend whose laughter we miss," he said.

The understated memorial in the agency's entrance includes the 2 1/4-inch stars, flanked by an American and a CIA flag. A book just below the stars names the 54 officers who have been publicly identified.

Above the stars reads an inscription: "In honor of those members of the Central Intelligence Agency who gave their lives in the service of their country."


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