New Details on Afghan CIA Base Suicide Bomber

The New York Times reports the suicide bomber who killed 8 people, including 7 CIA agents at a CIA base in Afghanistan last week was indeed an "intelligence asset" -- of the Jordanian Intelligence Service. He had been arrested in Jordan and flipped, so they thought. Instead, he tricked them.

The bomber had been arrested in Jordan and recruited by that country’s intelligence service — which believed that it had turned him into an ally — and then brought to Afghanistan to infiltrate the Qaeda organization by posing as a foreign jihadi.

But the supposed intelligence asset was actually a double-agent who was given explosives by militants in the frontier region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which he wore to a meeting last Wednesday at Forward Operating Base Chapman, the C.I.A. base in the southeastern province of Khost.


The Jordanian intelligence officer, Capt. Sharif Ali bin Zeid, brought his recruit to the base, which didn't search him based on the officer's representation he was an intelligence asset.

The Jordian intelligence officer was killed in the blast, along with the 7 CIA agents.

Jordan is saying they don't know who the bomber was, only "“We’ve heard he might be Jordanian, or that he might be Saudi." But others have identified him as Humam Khalil Mohammed, a Jordanian physician.

Apparently, they thought the Doctor could lead them to Ayman al Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s second in command. The AFP reports:

Western intelligence officials told NBC that al-Balawi reportedly called his Jordanian handler last week to say he needed to meet with the CIA team based in Khost, Afghanistan because he had urgent information about Zawahiri, an Egyptian.

"The bomber allegedly was sent by Ayman Zawahiri himself to conduct the attack and claimed he had information on Zawahiri," Riedel said, adding "that all remains unconfirmed as far as I know."

So he was arrested in Jordan over a year ago. I wonder what for? And if he was a double agent for the whole time, I wonder what information he passed along to al Qaeda during that time, and why al Qaeda decided he was expendable when he was working inside with Jordan and soon to be working with the CIA? Seems a bit counter-productive.

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    I doubt seriously that he ever (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:29:44 PM EST
    had any info to pass to al Qaeda, but he did manage to serve a purpose didn't he?  It was an extreme loss for the U.S.  Godspeed to those who lost their lives and may their families be held in the hand of the universe as they grieve the losses.

    One thing that would not surprise me though (none / 0) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 08:39:19 PM EST
    Is discovering that the CIA withheld info on nonexplosive underpants because they thought they would run across him in Yemen or there's abouts and they could cultivate him as an asset.  Wouldn't that just be a really really wrong thing to end up finding out?  Now I'm going to ask my paranoia to take a break.

    The mind boggles. (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:04:38 PM EST
    Well, they are looking for assets (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 09:15:12 PM EST
    they are looking hard.  A good asset is literally worth its weight in gold and the promise of a good asset can kill eight CIA personnel at this point.  There's a big tell right there about how hard they are looking for assets.  We have no boots on the ground, want no more boots on the ground.  We need assets.  I immediately thought that thought when I found out the story behind the burnt crotch bomber.  There really is no excuse for why the info was not passed onto NCTC except if you were going to flip him and if he wouldn't flip.....he's a terrorist in the eyes of everyone else in the system and he goes down immediately as one.  Easy cheesy when you turn him in with the info you have on him.  But not so easy cheesy to cultivate him as an asset if the whole sytem has him listed as a terrorist before you get your shot at flipping him first.

    His contact (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 09:06:04 AM EST
    The Jordanian intelligence officer, Capt. Sharif Ali bin Zeid, brought his recruit to the base, which didn't search him based on the officer's representation he was an intelligence asset.

    Capt. Sharif Ali bin Zeid was also a member of the Jordanian royal family.

    Never trust an informant... (none / 0) (#6)
    by kdog on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 09:30:32 AM EST
    if they'll double-cross one they will double-double-cross the other...isn't that Spook 101 sh*t?