CIA finds security lapse led to Afghan suicide attack that killed 7 agents

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

LONDON - A Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer was reportedly warned that the Jordanian double-agent who blew himself up at a remote US base in eastern Afghanistan in January, killing seven officers of the agency, might have been working for al-Qaeda, but he failed to pass on the information to his bosses.

According to the BBC, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, a Jordanian al-Qaeda agent, blew himself up after promising to give crucial intelligence on top US targets.

In a letter to employees, CIA director Leon Panetta cited a range of failures that led to the worst attack against US intelligence officials since 1983.

Panetta said a classified internal inquiry into the attack had found al-Balawi had already provided intelligence that had been independently verified, and CIA officers believed he had more to offer.

“He had confirmed access within extremist circles, making a covert relationship with him, if he was acting in good faith, potentially very productive. But he had not rejected his terrorist roots,” Panetta wrote.

He further stated that the intelligence report identified a number of shortcomings within the CIA, including failing to share information, and insufficiency of security measures at Forward Operating Base Chapman.

Panetta also said that the zeal to disrupt al-Qaeda had contributed to al-Balawi being let into the base.

Thirty-six-year-old al-Balawi was a doctor in Jordan, and had been arrested by Jordanian intelligence a year before the deadly attack at Forward Operating Base Chapman. Following his arrest, he was reportedly recruited by the Jordanians and the CIA as their informant and gave him the task of finding al-Qaeda leaders. However, he managed to fool intelligence officers by secretly continuing his jihadi principles.

Right after the attack, al-Jazeera television aired a video showing al-Balawi with Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, vowing revenge on the US for the killing of a previous Taliban leader, the report said. (ANI)

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