John D. Muskopf, Jr.

Member of the 1994 Delegation

The Delegation greatly mourns the loss of John D. Muskopf, Jr., who was victim to a tragic murder in the heart of our nation, Washington, D.C., on June 17th, 2000. John, originally from the Roanoke, Virginia area, had completed his degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Virginia. Being a speaker of Farsi, the native language of Iran, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan, he went on to join the CIA in July of 1997 as an Intelligence Analyst. Following his death, CIA spokesman Mark Mansfeld said Muskopf was "very sharp, highly regarded as an analyst and very well liked by his colleagues."

From The Washington Post:

When John Muskopf Jr. was about 4 years old, he already had begun to amaze his father. The elder Muskopf had been working in the basement when his son picked up a piece of wood and a handful of nails and got to work with a hammer. "He just pounded a whole bunch of nails in it," Muskopf said, gently laughing. "He was amazing."

It's a fond recollection of a boy growing up, developing a strong curiosity about the way things worked. The junior Muskopf liked to tool with things so much, from cars to computers, that he quickly acquired the nickname "Toolie," his father said.

The younger Muskopf's life was cut short early Saturday when he and two friends were confronted by a gunman as they walked to Muskopf's home in Northwest Washington. In the few seconds of confusion that followed, Muskopf, 28, was shot from behind, ending the life of a promising CIA intelligence officer, and devastating family and friends.

Muskopf was born in Lincoln Park, Mich. When he was 7, he moved with his family--including two younger brothers and a younger sister--to the Roanoke area and eventually attended Patrick Henry High School. He also attended Roanoke Valley Governor's School, a school emphasizing science and technology, his father said. Then Muskopf attended the University of Virginia.

"He was always a good student. He was very active in his school. He played lacrosse," his father said. "He was very well-liked by his fellow students, his friends, his roommates."

In July 1997, after leaving college, Muskopf went to work at the Central Intelligence Agency as an intelligence analyst and in a short time was considered one of their best and brightest. "How could you ask for a better son?" his father said. "He wanted to make the world a better place to live."

In October, Muskopf moved from his Arlington apartment to Northwest Washington, where he wanted to help revitalize the neighborhood, starting with his new house. "He saw the neighborhood was trying to make a comeback, and he wanted to contribute to that," his father said.

A Farsi and French speaker specializing in nuclear-related issues, including nuclear proliferation and nuclear security, Muskopf was considered one of the CIA's most treasured assets, said agency spokesman Mark Mansfield. "He was incredibly bright and a first-rate intelligence officer," Mansfield said. "He was exactly the type of officer that makes you very proud to be a part of the CIA."

John Muskopf Sr. said his son also was somewhat secretive, as expected, about certain aspects of his job. "Sometimes, you'd get a phone call, and you'd say, 'Where are you?' and he'd say, 'I can't tell you,' " his father said. "I know he was working with very sensitive information."

CIA Director George J. Tenet said in a statement: "This rising star personified the type of person who is the future of the agency. He was very sharp, extremely versatile, highly regarded as an analyst and very well-liked by his colleagues."