U.S. diplomat killed in 2003 was really a CIA spy

In 2003, Gregg Wenzel (33) died in Ethiopia in what was then reported to be a random traffic accident on the streets of Addis Ababa, caused by a drunken driver. Wenzel was supposedly a U.S. diplomat, listed as a foreign services officer. Yesterday, the CIA revealed that in actuality, the New Yorker was a CIA spy.

Gregg Wenzel

Although Wenzel was officially honored at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia – a gold star has been engraved in his memory on the memorial wall in the agency’s lobby – exactly what he was doing out in Ethiopia and why/how he was killed are details that remain shrouded in mystery. Apparently a car crash was involved, and the driver of the vehicle that caused Wenzel’s death is still on the run.

Gregg’s father, Mitch Wenzel, told the Daily News, “My son wanted to make a difference, and he did; he wanted to give back by joining the Clandestine Service.” Mr. M. Wenzel had lobbied hard to get public acknowledgement for his son, writing yearly letters to ex-President G. W. Bush requesting that his son be recognized as a CIA hero.

Before joining the CIA in 2000, Gregg was an attorney, a public defender. A native to New York, he was born in Manhattan and grew up in the Bronx and upstate Monroe. He was a member of the first CIA training class to graduate after the 9/11 attacks and CIA Director Leon Panetta praised him during Monday’s ceremony as an extremely intelligent leader with a good sense of humor and a “great penchant for fun.” He helped the class pull together through very difficult times.

Ethiopia, where Gregg was based, is a U.S. ally and serves as the CIA’s hub for their operations against Al Qaeda in Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania.

photos courtesy of greggwenzel.com and chabadorange.com

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