CIA team leader reflects on pivotal mission following 9/11

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Three days after the 9/11 terror attacks, a CIA team leader on the verge of retirement takes on a whole new mission to hunt down a terror mastermind.

As President George W. Bush tells first responders at Ground Zero the U.S. is fighting back, a CIA team leader on the verge of retirement is tapped to take this Mi-17 into Afghanistan.

Code-named “JAWBREAKER,” the CIA team of seven and three-man flight crew are the first Americans on the ground, September 25th, 2001. Days into the mission, the team customizes the chopper, including call numbers.

For nearly a month, the CIA team worked alone. They built relationships, they gathered intelligence, and then sent updates to CIA headquarters. For the agency, 9/11 was a pivotal time – they became a tactical organization.

With a dedication from Director Gina Haspel, the Mi-17 officially joined the CIA museum.

Not open to the public, the exhibits teach the CIA workforce about the agency’s mission – its willingness to take on risk – from tracking Usama Bin Laden to his Pakistan compound, to the JAWBREAKER team’s gear that honored the nearly three-thousand Americans killed on 9/11.

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