On Sept. 19, 2001, J. Cofer Black, the director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, summoned two agents to his office.
"I want bin Laden's head shipped back in a box filled with dry ice," Black told them, one of the agents later reported. "I want to be able to show bin Laden's head to the president."
Black - who is now Mitt Romney's chief adviser on counterterrorism and national security - is a brash and tough-talking veteran spy. He is also controversial. Black is widely credited with trying to warn then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice about Al Qaeda in the summer of 2001, but an internal CIA report last summer criticized his counterterrorist center, saying it lacked an effective strategy before Sept. 11.
Now Black is facing more scrutiny for his current role as a top executive of Blackwater Worldwide, the international security firm whose alleged killing of 17 Iraqis prompted a congressional investigation and a demand from the Iraqi government that the firm withdraw from the country.
Romney has called the allegations against Blackwater troubling, but said he is waiting for a State Department investigation to be completed before making an official pronouncement on the firm. But he proudly invokes Black's name on the campaign trail, mentioning his 28 years in the CIA to lend himself credibility on counterterrorism issues.