The CIA has its own special forces. The Special Activities Division (SAD) is the most elite unit in the field and Its members, known as Paramilitary Operations Officers, are part of the most secretive and discreet special ops organization in the U.S. In my Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster series, I bring out how these, and other small and agile special ops teams, keep Americans out of harm’s way.
Afghanistan was a heads up for ending the use of armored U.S. Marine and Army battalions to fight terrorism overseas. The U.S. military must become as skilled in asymmetric warfare as small bands of terrorist cells are.
This new thought on fighting lop-sided battles began on the night of October 5, 2013, when U.S. special forces conducted a lightning strike attack and captured Abu Anas al-Libi in Tripoli, Libya. He was wanted in connection with the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Simultaneously, U.S. Navy SEALS struck an al-Shabaab safe haven in the early hours before morning prayers in the seaside town of Barawe, Somalia. Heavy gunfire ensued and at least one individual was killed at a villa where multiple high level al-Shabaab targets were supposed to be located. The planners of the Kenyan mall attack that left dozens of dead were inside. Good HUMINT, ground intelligence, led intelligence analysts to believe that the leader of the Nairobi shopping mall attack, Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, was there.
While researching these attacks, I thought back seven years ago, when Admiral William H. McRaven announced that U.S. special operations forces were engaged in over one hundred countries worldwide. McRaven was commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), and he was testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
He became the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre (NSCC) and in that position, he greatly enhanced the capabilities and inter-operability of all NATO Special Operations Forces. As al-Qaeda rejuvenates itself worldwide, it is time we ramp up more of what McRaven has accomplished. Despite a United States-led global “war on terror” that has cost U.S. taxpayers $5.9 trillion, killed an estimated 480,000 to 507,000 people, and assassinated bin Laden, al-Qaeda has spread since 9/11, expanding from rural Afghanistan into North Africa, East Africa, the Sahel, the Gulf States, the Middle East, and Central Asia.
Therefore, my mind wanders back to 2013, when the lightning strike attacks in Somalia and Egypt epitomized what we should be doing more of now. The asymmetric methods used by small special force units created visible and dramatic effects of the “greatest magnitude across the globe”, not to mention disrupting and scaring the hell out of terrorist units bent on killing westerners.
I mention the CIA’s Special Activities Division (SAD) in my spy thrillers. Here is a snippet from MISSION OF VENGEANCE:
Snippet 1: President Rhinehart folded his arms and massaged his chin as he slowly turned and walked back to his chair and sat down. He looked over at General Morrison. “Bill, I’m activating the USS Caribbean Sea amphibious assault ship. It will sail out of Norfolk tonight and begin training exercises off the coast of the Dominican Republic. I want you to contact the CIA’s special ops commander and have him and two squads board while it’s in route.
Morrison said, “That would be one-hundred troops.”
“Exactly. I want the entire contingent, including their Blackhawk assault and Apache attack helicopters onboard. If any more U.S. citizens are killed, Spetsnaz will quickly have real warriors in their faces… America will go to war.”
Snippet 2: Captain Jacobs scanned the dark horizon with his binoculars. He could barely make out the distant island of Grand Turk, the capital of the Turks and Caicos. The lights of Cockburn Town lit up the darkness with a soft glow. The 22,000 tons of steel and aluminum beneath him cut through the waves that sparkled from the full moon and clear skies.
An open letter lay on the control room console before him. It was signed “Robert Rhinehart, President of the United States.” His ensign delivered it just after he and his 1,100 crew members departed Norfolk Naval Base. In it, the president said that if his mission is successful, countless American lives may be saved. The last word in the top-secret communique was “Godspeed”.
The navigational screen showed the GPS waypoint 20.469207, -70.881760 approaching rapidly. Stealthy visitors were about to board the USS Caribbean Sea. The radar room announced, “Friendlies arriving Starboard side. Six point nine nautical miles out and closing in fast.”
Moments later, five UH-60L Blackhawk air assault, two AH-64 Apache attack, and three UH-60Q Medevac choppers circled the ship like anxious bees returning to their hive. The captain noted that the Apache’s were armed with laser-designated Hellfire missiles. He watched as they landed two at a time on the aircraft elevators and were promptly lowered beneath deck. In twenty minutes, all ten aircraft and fifty CIA clandestine special ops warriors were aboard, awaiting further orders.
CIA spymaster Corey Pearson sat at a table at the Sosua safe house, debriefing agents Sweeney, Murray, Phillips and Chop-Chop on the Situation Room meeting. He was finishing up. “As we speak, the USS Caribbean Sea is twenty miles offshore. One of our special ops teams is onboard.” End of Snippet
Robert Morton is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), enjoys writing about the U.S. Intelligence Community, and relishes traveling to the Florida Keys and Key West, the Bahamas and Caribbean. He combines both passions in his CoreyPearson- CIA Spymaster series. Check out his latest spy thriller: MISSION OF VENGEANCE.