“Those who fell yesterday were far from home and close to the enemy, doing the hard work that must be done to protect our country from terrorism. We owe them our deepest gratitude, and we pledge to them and their families that we will never cease fighting for the cause to which they dedicated their lives—a safer America.”
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta — December 31, 2009
“Elizabeth Hanson was a gifted innovator in fighting terrorists; a woman with boundless energy and a quick wit who relished the challenge of her work and was committed to excellence and integrity in everything she did.”
Elizabeth Hanson was one of seven CIA agents killed December 30 2009 in a suicide bombing while gathering intelligence on al-Qaida at a remote base in the mountains of Afghanistan. All operatives killed in the attack were memorialized with a star on the agency’s Memorial Wall at its headquarters. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
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Elizabeth Hanson was born in February 1979 in Rockford, and was the daughter of Duane Hanson Jr.
She graduated from Keith Country Day School in 1997, and attended Colby College in Waterville, Maine, majoring in economics with a concentration in financial markets and Russian language and culture.
After the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York, Hanson was prompted to explore the relationship between religion and economics.
Hanson joined the CIA as a specialist and was charged with the tasks of finding Islamic extremists and gathering information about militant networks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Hanson was one of several CIA agents killed December 30 in a suicide bombing while gathering intelligence on al-Qaida at a remote base in the mountains of Afghanistan.
The four CIA agents, along with three American security guards and a Jordanian intelligence officer, died after the bomber had been invited to a meeting, supposedly to pass along important information. Officials said he turned out to be a double agent.
Memorial Ceremony (December 30 2014)
During the Agency’s Annual Memorial Ceremony on June 7, 2010 former Director Panetta explained why the heroes of Khowst, the fallen and the survivors alike, risked their lives and why their work lives on within the vital mission of the Agency.
“They remind us, as do the losses suffered by our brothers and sisters in uniform, that our nation’s liberty and security is not free. It must be fought for by every generation.
Their stories reaffirm that America is blessed with brave and selfless patriots who are willing to put their lives on the line: who are willing to shoulder that great responsibility.”
Director Brennan, in a message to the workforce on the five-year anniversary of Khowst, spoke of the tremendous risks inherent in intelligence work and of the courage of the women and men of CIA who serve on the front lines to keep our country safe, despite the risks.
“In responding to the tragedy of Khowst, our CIA family came together, cared for our wounded, and redoubled our efforts to confront a dangerous and determined enemy.
As always, CIA drew strength from adversity. We did not waver or retreat. We showed what it means to stand firm in the face of hatred and violence. I can think of no greater tribute to the heroes of Khowst.”
PS: Did you know Elizabeth Hanson? Would you like to share a story? Just let us know.
CIA Slaughter in Afghanistan
Women of the CIA — Newsweek
The Mystery of Jane Wallis Burrell: The First CIA Officer To Die in the Agency’s Service — CIA news & Information
Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Barbara A. Robbins — CIA Website
Tribute to Women Who Have Died — STUDIES IN INTELLIGENCE
REAGAN SAYS BLAST WON’T DETER PEACE EFFORTS — NYT 21 April 1983
Memorial Service 1983 — CIA Website
Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Jacqueline K. Van Landingham — CIA Website
U.S. Seeking 3 Gunmen In Karachi — NYT March 10 1995
Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Leslianne Shedd — CIA Website
CIA Adds Four Stars to Memorial Wall — CIA website May 21 2006
Khowst – 5 Years Later — Cia Website
Who was Elizabeth Hanson? — COLBY Magazine
Silent Stars — The Washingtonian
CIA : A Few Good Women — Elizabeth Hanson ( February 14 1979 – December 30 2009)
On This Day — Remembering CIA Elizabeth Hanson ( February 14 1979 – December 30 2009 )