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CIA Adds Eight Stars to Memorial Wall For Fallen Officers

Each year, new stars are carved into the marble of the CIA’s Memorial Wall in the agency’s main lobby. Each represents an employee who died while carrying out his or her duties, often clandestine. 

When it was first dedicated in 1974, there were 31 stars. After a ceremony held Monday, the number is 125. As is true almost every year, some of the new stars honor fallen officers whose names and operations remain classified. 

Four of the eight new stars represent officers whose names if revealed might unveil classified operations. 

A fifth was added to honor Mark S. Rausenberger, an 18-year agency officer who died while serving overseas. The circumstances of his death remain classified. 

In the past, the agency has reviewed the history of clandestine operations to determine if a name can be declassified. The identity of the man honored with the first star, Douglas Mackiernan, wasn’t revealed until 2006, 56 years after his death.

The three other new stars pay tribute to David Bevan, Darrell Eubanks, and John Lewis. All died when their plane crashed while carrying out a mission for Air America, the CIA’s Vietnam-era "airline," in Laos in 1961.

In remarks to those assembled before the wall Monday, including families of the fallen, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said that each star represents "a life that is dear to us … We remain forever devoted to them, as they were to us. And we will strive to make them proud of us, as we are of them."

Image: Tim Johnston carves CIA memorial stars
Tim Johnston, a partner of Manassas Granite and Marble, is shown scraping the surface on a memorial star carved out of marble that he just airbrushed a dark finish, on May 2, 2014 in Manassas, Virginia. John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images

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That North Korean Missile Really Worked, Say U.S. Officials

Two U.S. defense officials confirm that North Korea's launch of a KN-17 missile last Sunday was successful and that the missile's re-entry vehicle did successfully re-enter the atmosphere.

The re-entry was controlled and the vehicle did not burn up, the officials said. It landed in the sea near Russia

The KN-17 is a liquid fuel single-stage missile. In boasting of the successful launch, the North Koreans called it a "medium long-range" ballistic rocket that can carry a heavy nuclear warhead.

The U.S. officials characterized Sunday's launch as an advancement for the North Korean missile program.

North Korea also launched one in mid-April, but it exploded seconds later.

Image: North Korea Missile
This picture taken on May 14, 2017 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15 shows a test launch of the ground-to-ground medium long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 at an undisclosed location. AFP - Getty Images