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The CIA Agent largely responsible for locating and planning the capture/kill mission of Osama bin Laden isn’t getting the credit she thinks she deserves.Since her — and America’s — success tracking down and eliminating Al Qaeda’s bossman, she has run into some trouble, according to an article in the Washington Post.
“Maya,” as she’s called in the Kathryn Bigelow movie “Zero-Dark-30,” is a hero on the silver screen, and in the eyes of many colleagues, but she’s become a thumbtack in the big toe of America’s storied Intelligence Agency.
From the Washington Post:
This spring, she was among a handful of employees given the agency’s Distinguished Intelligence Medal, its highest honour except for those recognising people who have come under direct fire. But when dozens of others were given lesser awards, the female officer lashed out.
“She hit ‘reply all’ ” to an e-mail announcement of the awards, a second former CIA official said. The thrust of her message, the former official said, was: “You guys tried to obstruct me. You fought me. Only I deserve the award.”
Matt Bissonnette, one of the SEALs on the Abbottabad raid, described the agent as “feisty” and “wicked smart,” and all but credits her with the trigger pull when it came to the hunt for Bin Laden. He even said she “teed up” Operation Neptune Spear, the name given to the successful mission.
The agent’s position was that of a “targeter” — someone who locates and develops assets, as well as leads for potential drone strikes. She operated out of a safe house in Jalalabad, Pakistan, and was among the first to cite bin Laden’s network of couriers as a means to reach the man himself, though she received much pushback on the lead, according to Washington Post sources.
“After this went right, there were a lot of people trying to take credit,” the former intelligence official told the Post. She “was one of the people from very early on pushing this” courier approach.
Also under scrutiny is the agency’s access given to movie director Bigelow for “Zero-Dark-30,” and her insinuation that torture played an integral role in obtaining information regarding bin Laden (contrary to the evidence). Though Bigelow says she gave the movie a “journalistic” approach when it came to research, it was bound to cause speculative and investigatory stirs in various American communities.
“Maya” has since been denied promotion, given instead a “bonus” for the mission, but she remains in service on an undisclosed assignment. Some colleagues tell the Post they thought the promotion was impossible to deny someone who played such a role in the Agency’s highest priority mission.
The CIA is also conducting an internal investigation on the disclosure of classified information to Hollywood.