“IN HONOR OF THOSE MEMBERS OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY”
Memorial at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia
“Rachel was a warm and compassionate young woman, and an officer of unbounded potential. We miss her still and will remember her always. She is our 87th star.”
General Mike Hayden — Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2007 CIA Memorial Ceremony)
August 13 2019 — Currently, there are 133 stars carved into the marble of the CIA Memorial Wall: 93 are unclassified. Who are those men and women? When did they die? Why are they honored by a star? Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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In 1974, the CIA dedicated the Memorial Wall with 31 stars in 1974 to honor those who had fallen since the Agency’s founding in 1947.
Since the attacks of September 11 2001, 55 stars have been added to the Book of Honor and the Memorial Wall.
During the 2007 CIA Memorial Ceremony, four stars were added to the Wall.
Why This Series?
The book is a very good source of information. Its Amazon page reads:
A national bestseller, this extraordinary work of investigative reporting uncovers the identities, and the remarkable stories, of the CIA secret agents who died anonymously in the service of their country.
In the entrance of the CIA headquarters looms a huge marble wall into which seventy-one stars are carved-each representing an agent who has died in the line of duty. Official CIA records only name thirty-five of them, however.
Undeterred by claims that revealing the identities of these “nameless stars” might compromise national security, Ted Gup sorted through thousands of documents and interviewed over 400 CIA officers in his attempt to bring their long-hidden stories to light.
The result of this extraordinary work of investigation is a surprising glimpse at the real lives of secret agents, and an unprecedented history of the most compelling—and controversial—department of the US government.
However, the book was published in May 2001, and the number of stars on the CIA wall has almost doubled since then.
Many of these additional stars are nameless. But even the named ones have not been the object of a systematic study, let alone a book.
Please, keep in mind that if the US Congress decides to pass the new version of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), writing an update of Gup’s book would most likely be illegal.
On May 20 2019, the Washington Post revealed the name of Ranya Abdelsayed (04/28/1979) who joined the CIA in 2006.
On August 28 2013, while serving in Afghanistan, she committed suicide. Again, such disclosure will no longer be possible if the expanded version of the IIPA is passed.
This being said, we now return to the subject of this post: CIA star 87.
The 2007 CIA Memorial Ceremony
These four new stars honor James McGrath, Stephen Kasarda, Gregory R. Wright and Rachel Dean.
Comment 1 — You will notice that no ceremonies were held in 2005 and 2006. Why? I do not know the answer, but obviously, Porter Johnston Goss was the last Director of Central Intelligence (DCI — September 24, 2004 – April 21, 2005) and the first Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (April 21, 2005 – May 5, 2006) following the passage of the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which abolished the DCI position and replaced it with the Director of National Intelligence on April 21, 2005.
Comment 2 — Although the name of Gregory R. Wright was not made public at the time of the ceremony, it was eventually disclosed. However, the CIA has posted contradictory pieces of information regarding his star.
Comment 3 — When the CIA honor several officers with a star during the same ceremony, I have no way of knowing the star number of a given individual. However, according to the CIA, Rachel Dean is star 87. I will therefore assume that — in such case — the stars are ranked according to the year of death.
Star 87 : Rachel A. Dean (April 10 1981 – September 30 2006)
Rachel Alexandra Dean was a support officer who joined CIA in January 2005.
She died in September 2006 in a car accident while on temporary duty in Kazakhstan. She was 25.
Rachel was born in Portsmouth, Virginia (daughter of Thomas R. and Laurie M. Dean, Stanardsville, Virginia).
Her father was on active duty with the US Navy, so she grew up experiencing life overseas.
Rachel graduated from Maury High School, Norfolk,Virginia in 1999.
She attended Randolph Macon Women’s College, majoring in International Studies.
During her junior year, Rachel studied abroad for a semester in Athens, Greece. Along with her course work, Rachel was active in several service organizations.
In 2003, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Rachel joined the CIA in January 2005, having earned a place in the Directorate of Support.
PS: Did you know Rachel A. Dean? Would you like to share a story? Just let us know.
July 1974 — The Memorial Wall is created; 31 stars chiseled into the marble.
1987 — First Memorial Ceremony is held with Deputy Director Robert M. Gates presiding; number of stars on the wall has grown to 50.
1997 — 70 stars, 29 of which had names
2002 — 79 stars
2004 — 83 stars
2009 — 90 stars
2013 — 107 stars
2014 — 111 stars
2016 — 117 stars
May 2017 — 8 new stars; 125 stars chiseled into the wall
May 2018 — 4 new stars; 129 stars
May 2019 — 4 new stars; 133 stars
Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Greg Wright — CIA Website
CIA Adds Four Stars to Memorial Wall (May 21, 2007) — CIA Website
The CIA Book of Honor — Star 87 : Rachel A. Dean (April 10 1981 – September 30 2006)