— By Domani Spero
One of our readers pointed us to a new wiki on all things Diplomatic Security. DS Wikipedia is described as “an unofficial, non-US government affiliated wiki for both the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Diplomatic Security service – more commonly known as DS.”
Why was it created? “This Wiki was created to provide a common location to put information that would not meet Wikipedia normal submission guidelines. Specifically, it was originally created to hold a page for DS affiliated personnel who were killed in the line of duty. Although originally on Wikipedia, the page was deleted by editors because it was considered to be a memorial page.”
Its Bureau of Diplomatic Security Personnel Killed in Action page includes not just direct-hire employees, but also local guard force (LGF) casualties and security contractors killed in the line of duty. An overwhelming number of casualties are local guards and security contractors. It includes the names of local guards killed in the attack of US Embassy Lebanon in 1983, and those who perished in the East Africa embassy bombings in 1998. The last few entries include Mustafa Akarsu, a local guard killed during a suicide bombing at US Embassy Ankara this year, Qassim Aqlan, a local RSO investigator assassinated in Sana’a, Yemen in 2011, and three yet unnamed contract security guards killed during a rocket attack at the US Embassy Iraq compound in 2010.
The wiki’s Host Country Police Killed in Action Defending US Facilities includes the identities of the three Turkish National Police who died during a shootout with attackers at the US Consulate in Istanbul on July 9, 2008. It also includes the names of the two Uzbek National Police who died defending the US Embassy during a suicide attack on July 30, 2004. Unfortunately, with the attack on the US Consulate in Herat on September 13, 2013, this site’s volunteers will need to add one more name on this list and eight names to the KIA page. (US Consulate Herat Casualties: One Afghan Police, Eight Local Guards Killed).
The wiki also has a list of Diplomatic Security Service Special Agent Heroism Award Recipients. And there’s a link to Diplomatic Security Service Agents Turned Author. Another section in the wiki includes links to Videos of Diplomatic Security Mentions in Film and TV. Below is George Clooney playing Jim Byrd who claims to be working for the Diplomatic Security Service while recruiting Chuck Barris in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002).
And long before FS bloggers discovered the “tigers” who occasionally go after them, Diplomatic Security has its own “black dragons.”
The DS Wiki has an entire page dedicated just for Black Dragons – Slang For Anti-Security Department of State Management
As referred to by DS personnel, “Black Dragons” are senior Department of State personnel with the ability to influence Diplomatic Security programs and personnel. Black Dragons view security as the antithesis of diplomacy. In the history of Diplomatic Security, Black Dragons have reduced personnel ranks whenever possible, gave away protective responsibilities for Heads of State/Heads of Government to the USSS in 1971 and formally considered shutting down DS field offices and giving the investigative role of DS to the FBI.
The investigation into the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens during the 2013 Benghazi attack highlights the negative effects of the black dragons on security. Security support was minimized or eliminated in Libya despite repeated requests from the US Mission to maintain additional security personnel.
We have never seen a State Department public list of non-American employees/US contractors killed in the line of duty. While the names of US contractors sometimes make the news, non-US casualties typically do not. This wiki page does not include the name or names of its administrator or volunteers so there’s no easy way to contact them. But whoever thought to create this wiki and put in the hours of labor deserves our thanks for trying to account for the individuals who gave their lives protecting our posts overseas.