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CNN: Xe contractors killed in CIA bombing

Posted January 2, 2010

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— Two CIA contractors killed in a bombing in Afghanistan Wednesday were employed by North Carolina-based Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, according to CNN.

A former intelligence officer told CNN that two of seven deceased worked for the private security and training firm based in Moyock, a small community in Currituck County.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the bombing at a former military base on the edge of Khost city, the capital of Khost province, which borders Pakistan and is a Taliban stronghold. Six other CIA workers were wounded.

The Associated Press reports that Harold E. Brown Jr., of Fairfax, Va., was among the dead, according to his father, Harold E. Brown Sr. The elder Brown said his 37-year-old son, who grew up in Bolton, Mass., served in the Army and worked for the State Department. He is survived by a wife and three children ages 12, 10 and 2.

The CIA has not released the identities of the deceased, citing the sensitivity of their mission and other ongoing operations.

The agency has confirmed that the chief of the CIA post was among the deceased. Former officials said the chief was a mother of three.

A Taliban spokesman claimed that the bomber was an Afghan National Army officer who blew himself up inside a gym at the base. U.S. officials would not confirm that the bomber had been a member of the Afghan army, leaving open the possibility that the uniform had been stolen.

Two former U.S. officials told the AP that the man had been invited onto the base and had not been searched. One official, a former senior intelligence employee, said the man was being courted as an informant and that it was the first time he had been brought inside the camp.

The bombing is considered the most lethal attack for the CIA since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001 and possibly even since the 1983 embassy bombing in Beirut.

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