‘Ankit Panda, writing in The Diplomat (May 21), opens with a mild, even slightly flattering assertion on CIA prowess. “While the general image of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency, in part thanks to its popular portrayal, is one of extreme competence, events through history have shown that the organization is prone to taking action without fully considering the consequences.”
During the phantom “war on terror”, ushered in by the Bush administration’s insistence that abstractions might, in fact, be the subject of military conflict, the CIA made full use of various undercover programs in Pakistan. The object of such programs was, broadly speaking, the pursuit of Osama bin Laden; the means of doing so was running vaccination programs as a ruse.
Shakil Afridi, in receipt of CIA moneys, ran a hepatitis vaccine program in the military town of Abottabad, venue of Bin Laden’s killing. The measure was designed to obtain DNA from a member of the Bin Laden family, a concept that seemed positively astral in its conception.’
Read more: Polio and Espionage: The CIA’s Vaccination Program