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Year Later, Some Details Emerge About CIA Officer Killed In Afghanistan

Jennifer Matthews' name was made public when the CIA honored her. The circumstances of her death nearly one year ago, and some of her background with the intelligence agency, have been known for quite some time.

Now, Washingtonian magazine is adding some background and texture to the story of the 45-year-old CIA base chief who was killed with 11 other agency officers and contractors. They died last Dec. 30 when a Jordanian doctor who they hoped could lead them to top al-Qaida operatives blew himself up as he came to meet with the intelligence agents in Khost, Afghanistan.

Among the highlights of Matthews' career, Washingtonian says, "was her role in the bust of the 2006 al-Qaida plot to bomb as many as ten U.S.-bound jets."

And the magazine has this on-the-record praise from a former top White House intelligence adviser:

"What impressed me about Jennifer was her competence and her commitment to what she was doing," says Fran Townsend, who was the homeland-security and counterterrorism adviser to President George W. Bush and the only former high-ranking official who had met Matthews and would talk on the record. "You don’t go where she was and you don’t do what she was doing unless you really believe in it."

The magazine also repeats some of the criticism from former CIA agents who believe Matthews and her team didn't have enough field experience.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.