How the CIA Misjudged the Pseudo-Informant at the Afghan Base
The Washington Post reports the details on the mismanagement of informant Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, who killed 7 CIA officers at an Afghan base a few weeks ago.
The Jordanians initially turned and worked him, but in mid-2009, they let the Americans and CIA take charge of him. [More...]
Senior CIA and GID officials were so beguiled by the prospect of a strike against al-Qaeda's inner sanctum that they discounted concerns raised by case officers in both services that Balawi might be a fraud, according to the former U.S. official and the Jordanian government official, who has an intelligence background.
The Americans took over the management of Balawi from the Jordanians sometime in the second half of 2009, dictating how and when the informant would meet his handlers, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officers. Agency field officers faced unusual pressures from top CIA and administration officials in Washington keyed up by Balawi's promise to deliver al-Qaeda's deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current and former officers said.
He seems like an unlikely recruit -- he was a "true believer":
In the past four years, using the pseudonym Abu Dujana al-Khorasani, Balawi wrote on extremist Web sites and gained renown. He trumpeted calls for martyrdom. "My words will drink of my blood," he wrote, one of a number of statements suggesting an ambition to move beyond rhetoric.
Were the warning signs there?
Both American and Jordanian case officers raised questions last year about the speed with which Balawi appeared to have inserted himself into a position where he could obtain such intelligence, according to the former U.S. official familiar with Balawi's detention.
Al-Qaeda is deeply suspicious of new volunteers, and especially so of Jordanians because of repeated attempts by GID to penetrate the organization...
As for Jordan, as one official said of its newly revamped GID, ""There was desperation to get the fruit."
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