A CIA officer died Wednesday in Afghanistan when a grenade used in a live-fire training exercise exploded prematurely, the CIA announced yesterday.
Helge Boes, 32, a former attorney and Northern Virginia resident, is the second CIA officer to die in Afghanistan.
On Nov. 25, 2001, Johnny "Mike" Spann, also 32 and a member of the CIA's small paramilitary unit, was killed during an uprising by Taliban prisoners in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif. Spann was the first U.S. combat casualty in Afghanistan, and news of his death was the first public indication of the CIA's extensive role in the war.
Boes had previous agency experience in Afghanistan and was on the training range "preparing for yet another intelligence collection operation," CIA Director George J. Tenet said in a statement. "He died doing what he loved."
Boes, who was an operations officer at the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, joined the agency in January 2001, because he "found the call of public service to be irresistible," said Tenet, who described him as "bright, energetic and ever prepared to apply his skills where they were needed most."
The agency, which usually does not disclose the names of its operations officers, said it determined after consulting with Boes's family that his name could be released publicly without compromising security or current operations.
Boes is survived by his wife, Cindy, and his parents, Roderich and Monika Boes, in Germany.
-- Dana Priest