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Remembering CIA Officer Johnny “Mike” Spann, Killed In Afghanistan on November 25, 2001

Remembering CIA Officer Johnny “Mike” Spann, Killed In Afghanistan on November 25, 2001

The first American killed inside Afghanistan after 9/11, part of a small team sent to organize opposition to the Taliban. There is something about this story that has struck an emotional chord with me.

In May 2011, I wrote for the first time about Johnny “Mike” Spann, the CIA special operations officer who was the first American killed inside Afghanistan after the 9/11 attack. Spann and a small operations team entered Afghanistan to organize opposition, particularly among the Northern Alliance, against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

[CIA Officer Johnny “Mike” Spann on horseback in Afghanistan]

Spann was killed in a prison uprising on November 25, 2001, soon after he interrogated the captured ‘American Taliban’ John Walker Lindh.

The occasion of my first writing about Spann was the killing of Osama bin-Laden in an operation opposed by then vice president Joe Biden.

I wrote, on May 3, 2011, Remembering Johnny “Mike” Spann:

Hearing the news of Osama bin Laden’s death brought forward many emotions and memories.

One of those memories for me was the story of Johnny “Mike” Spann, from Winfield, Alabama, the first American killed in the Afghanistan war, on November 25, 2001.

Spann was a CIA operative, one of a small number of Americans who landed in Afghanistan, helped coordinate local forces hostile to the Taliban, and directed bombing and other military action.

The story of this small band of men has been told, but not told enough.

Spann was killed during the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi when Taliban prisoners gained access to weapons and attacked.

Spann was killed during that uprising (see video).  One of the prisoners was the so-called American Taliban, John Walker Lyndh, who Spann interrogated shortly before Spann’s death.

Spann’s wife Shannon also worked for the CIA.  In addition to his wife, Spann left behind two daughters and an infant son.

Spann’s family established a website to honor his life, and there is a wealth of information and photos at his Arlington National Cemetery page.

There is an interesting honor paid to Spann at the website of Afghan General and Warlord Abdul Radhis Dostum, including a link to a photo of the memorial to Spann at the site of the uprising in which he died.

So in these days in which we remember those who died on 9/11, let’s also remember Johnny “Mike” Spann, who died in the weeks immediately after 9/11 on a battlefield far from home, and who against seemingly impossible odds helped pave the way for the overthrow of the Taliban, and over nine years later, the justice delivered two days ago.

There is something about this story that has struck an emotional chord with me. Each year since then, on November 25, I have remembered Mike Spann, and updated any new information was able to find about him and his family. I do so again today.

As time marches on, it’s harder to find new information. I found this recently posted footage from the Battle of Qali-i-Jangi, which appears to show Spann at the 0:45 and 1:10 marks.

We have posted many times about Spann’s daughter Alison, and his father Mike, and their efforts to honor her father’s and son’s memory. We found this recent video report in which Alison recounts her father’s words before he left for Afghanistan:

We also found this 2019 interview with Allison that we had not posted before.

But for the first time we learned more about Spann’s son Jake, via a Washington Post profile in late 2019:

First came the horse-drawn wagon rolling through Arlington National Cemetery, carrying the remains of the first American killed in Afghanistan in a flag-draped casket. Members of a Marine honor guard trailed behind, clad in navy blue uniforms, white caps and white gloves, marching ramrod-straight to muffled drums and the clip-clop of horse hoofs.

Then the family of CIA officer Johnny “Mike” Spann appeared, dressed in black. His 32-year-old widow, Shannon Spann, who also worked at the agency, walked behind the caisson, cradling a white-blanketed bundle in her arms. This was their infant son, Jake, just 6 months old on Dec. 10, 2001.

Jake had no way of knowing he was at the nation’s most distinguished military cemetery. Or that his father, a 32-year-old CIA paramilitary officer, was among the first U.S. warriors sent to Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks to confront the terrorists responsible. Or that, by losing his father, Jake would become a symbol of the longest war in U.S. history, one still claiming American lives 18 years later.

Next year will be 20 years.


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Back in the day when the CIA was still on our side.

    And so was the GOP. Sorta.

    Today, the CIA, FBI and the IRS have proved to be corrupted to the point where we trust foreign intelligence and law enforcement WAY more.

    This could not have happened without the involvement of the GOP.

    Abandoned the GOP. PDJT will hopefully start a third party, and this time it’ll stick.

Every prayer offered up by the Leftist military (once upon a time an American oxymoron) will end with:

“War without end…Amen”

Nuking Tora Bora with OBL inside would have been a better choice to start and finish our presence there. It’s a just a matter of time until someone will set one off. Reminding the world now we won’t tolerate terror is a joke now. As we potentially reenter the Obama Doctrine Era, “drones kill people, not presidents ordering the hit.”

The the American Taliban was set free

Can’t make that up

    We couldn’t make ‘Barack Hussein Obama’ (or whoever he really is) up, either. Nor Biden, or a vacuous, corrupt slut like Kamala Harris either.

    But they’re there.

    They could not be ‘there’ without the complicity of the GOP.

I’m going to ask this everyday

Where the F&&k is Bill Barr?

Spann’s daughter gives me hope. It’s heartening to see she’s a journalist.

If this country is to be saved, the children of conservatives must enter and populate the institutions that have been overtaken and corrupted by the left. The left’s stranglehold must end. I understand these are institutions hostile to conservatives and that right-of-center young adults might need to hide their political identity until they are firmly established.

I work with a wonderful Hispanic police officer who told me his son is studying journalism at the University of Missouri. I told him about Heather Mac Donald and all the great work she’s done exposing the big lie of systemic racism among police officers. He told me later he relayed the information to his son and that his son had become somewhat of a fan of Ms. Mac Donald. There is a good future journalist.

So, there are brave young people on the right willing to walk into the lion’s den. We just need many, many more of them.

Too much influence in our culture and society is coming from young people like the young man and his girlfriend who live in the apartment unit directly above us.

In the last few weeks it has sounded like they were running a horse racing track above us. I finally taped a letter to their door reminding them that their floor was basically our ceiling, and the noise was driving us crazy.

The young man, who looked to be about the same age as Johnny Spann at the time of Spann’s death came down and rang our doorbell.

This is how our conversation went as best as I can remember:

Sam: I read your letter. Sorry about the noise, but you know how difficult these times are. And we have to work from home.

Me: I know, but the constant pounding. It sounds like you have horses upstairs.

Sam: Yeah, that’s the dog. And I know yesterday might have been bad. We had a friend’s dog over to play with him.

Me: But dogs aren’t allowed in the building. Only cats. When we moved in, the manager told us dogs were not allowed.

Sam: It’s an emotional support animal.

Me: A what?

Sam: An emotional support animal. You know, times are tough.

Me: Well, he isn’t doing wonders for my emotional well being.

Sam: [Slight frown at my lack of understanding and empathy]

I wonder if Johnny Span could have used an emotional support animal? Or maybe his widow and fatherless children could have used one.

But working from home is awfully tough. Thank goodness Sam and his girlfriend have that hyper, noisy dog upstairs for emotional support. What a strong and wonderful generation we have to take over the reins of power in our institutions.

    “… we have to take over the reins of power in our institutions….”

    It won’t happen without an in-kind reaction to the left’s violence, mass demonstrations against treasonous filth like AG Barr and the rest of the sh*t heaped on top of the GOP.

    PDJT will likely start a third party – a VIABLE third party. Join it, and COMPLETELY ditch the GOP.

      Close The Fed in reply to | November 25, 2020 at 5:15 pm

      With all due respect, Fine, to obtain the reins of power, mostly you just have to volunteer. Every position is a stepping stone to another.

      Start out with the water board or something similar, and precinct captain in your precinct, and just do it.

      Go into teaching. Go into policing. Run for dog catcher, or county official, or state house or state senate.

      JUST DO IT.

As a veteran I will remember the sacrifice that Agent Spann but I will never forget John Walker Lynd, the American who is responsible for Spann death

Thanks for remembering professor, I do as well.


That is an astonishing comment as we not only remember CIA hero Mike Spann but see the news that another CIA officer was just killed in combat in Somalia. Whatever problems the CIA may have, it is worth remembering and honoring all of its unsung heroes serving us and our nation around the world 24/7.
By definition we do not see most of the great work it does.

I think we owe it to them to separate transient politics from daily service to our nation.