Analysis: The Meaning of the Suicide Attack on the CIA

Forward Operating Base Chapman

Chapman FOB

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS* | intelNews.org |
The recent deaths of seven and the serious injury of another six CIA personnel in Afghanistan’s Khost province has undoubtedly shocked an Agency not used to mass casualties. But what exactly is the significance of Wednesday’s suicide attack at the Forward Operating Base (FOB) Chapman, and how will it affect the US military and intelligence presence at the Afghan-Pakistani border? Given that the CIA team at Chapman FOB could not have consisted of more than 15 to 20 agents, it would be logical to conclude that the attack virtually decimated the CIA presence in Khost. But the impact of this development on US operations in Afghanistan will be minimal, in contrast to operations inside Pakistan, which constituted the primary objective of the CIA team at Chapman FOB. Read article →

Advertisements

About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

2 Responses to Analysis: The Meaning of the Suicide Attack on the CIA

  1. hello says:

    Jordanian double-agent killed CIA officers

    The suicide bombing on a CIA base in Afghanistan last week was carried out by a Jordanian doctor who was an al-Qaida double agent, Western intelligence officials told NBC News.

    Initial reports said that the attack, which killed seven CIA officers, was carried out by a member of the Afghan National Army.

    According to Western intelligence officials, the perpetrator was Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, 36, an al-Qaida sympathizer from the town of Zarqa, which is also the hometown of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant Islamist responsible for several devastating attacks in Iraq.

    Al-Balawi was arrested by Jordanian intelligence more than a year ago. However, the Jordanians believed that al-Balawi had been successfully reformed and brought over to the American and Jordanian side, setting him up as an agent and sending him off to Afghanistan and Pakistan to infiltrate al-Qaida.

    His specific mission, according to officials, was to find and meet Ayman al Zawahiri, al-Qaida’s No. 2, also a physician.

    However, the Al-Jazeera Web site quoted a Taliban spokesman who said al-Balawi misled Jordanian and U.S. intelligence services for a year. The spokesman, Al-Hajj Ya’qub, promised to release a video confirming his account of the attack.

    Last week, according to the Western officials, al-Balawi reportedly called his handler to say he needed to meet with the CIA’s team based in Khost, Afghanistan, because he said he had urgent information he needed to relay about Zawahiri.

    Close relations with Jordanian intelligence
    His handler was a senior intelligence official, identified in Jordanian press accounts as Sharif Ali bin Zeid.

    But bin Zeid was not just a Jordanian intelligence officer; he was also a member of the Jordanian royal family and was a first cousin of the king and grandnephew of the first king Abdullah.

    Bin Zeid’s prominent role offers rare insight into the close partnership between American and Jordanian intelligence officials and how crucial their relationship has become to the overall counterterrorism strategy.

    “We have a close partnership with the Jordanians on counterterrorism matters,” a U.S. official told The Washington Post. “Having suffered serious losses from terrorist attacks on their own soil, they are keenly aware of the significant threat posed by extremists.”

    Jordan’s official news agency, Petra, said bin Zeid was killed “on Wednesday evening as a martyr while performing the sacred duty of the Jordanian forces in Afghanistan” and provided no further details about his death.

    Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera reported that al-Balawi’s family refused to speak to the media on instructions from Jordanian security services.

    However, sources close to the family told Al-Jazirah Net that Jordanian Intelligence arrested his younger brother and ordered his father not to set up a condolence tent for his son so that it would not turn into a gathering place for jihadist sympathizers.

    Some of the agents had flown in from Kabul for what was thought to be an important meeting.

    The base was used to direct and coordinate CIA operations and intelligence gathering in Khost, a hotbed of insurgent activity because of its proximity to Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas, former CIA officials said. Among the CIA officers killed was the chief of the operation, they said.

    Six other people were wounded in what was one of the worst attacks in CIA history.

    Qari Hussain, a top militant commander with the Pakistani Taliban who is believed to be a suicide bombing mastermind, said last week that militants had been searching for a way to damage the CIA’s ability to launch missile strikes on the Pakistani side of the border.

    Using remote-controlled aircraft, the U.S. has launched scores of such missile attacks in the tribal regions over the past year and a half, aiming for high-value al-Qaida and other militant targets. The most successful strike, in August, killed former Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud at his father-in-law’s home.

    The Washington Post reported Friday that the CIA base has been at the heart of overseeing this covert program. The newspaper cited two former intelligence officials who have visited Chapman as saying that U.S. personnel there are heavily involved in the selection of al-Qaida and Taliban targets for the drone aircraft strikes.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34687312/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/

  2. intelNews says:

    Thanks for this report. We were also forwarded this by someone at NBC News and I have just posted a breaking news report on it. [JF]

We welcome informed comments and corrections. Send us yours using the form below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s