News you may have missed #0259

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CIA to continue working with Jordanians, despite suicide attack

GID logo

GID logo

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The vast majority of intelligence insiders, as well as intelligence observers, seem to agree that the CIA is determined to maintain its close links with Jordanian intelligence services, despite the December 30 suicide bombing that killed and injured 13 CIA personnel. Jordanian doctor Humam Khalil al-Balawi, who detonated a concealed bomb shortly after he was allowed into the US Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, had been recruited as a high-level informant by Jordan’s General Intelligence Department (GID). The Jordanian agency, which is known for its brutal interrogation tactics, is widely considered America’s most valuable intelligence partner in the Arab world. But the December 30 blunder, which resulted in the CIA’s second highest casualty disaster in its 63-year history, prompted some to question GID’s overall value. Read more of this post

Comment: CIA Deaths a Failure of Intelligence, Not Security

Khalil al-Balawi

Khalil al-Balawi

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Early on Thursday, rumors began spreading among intelligence observers that the December 30 suicide blast in Khost, Afghanistan, which killed seven and seriously injured six CIA personnel, went off in the open air, and not inside a gym on the base, as had previously been reported. Soon afterwards, an article written by CIA director Leon Panetta for the Sunday edition of The Washington Post, dated January 10, was published by the paper two days early. The op-ed is an apparent attempt by the CIA leadership to officially get the word out that suicide bomber Humam Khalil al-Balawi “was about to be searched by our security officers –a distance away from other intelligence personnel– when he set off his explosives”, according to Panetta. Read more of this post

Breaking news: CIA officers were killed by Jordanian double spy

Forward Operating Base Chapman

Chapman FOB

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Ever since I posted “The Meaning of the Suicide Attack on the CIA” on this blog, I have been telling reporters who contacted me that the attack at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Chapman was probably carried out by a double agent. I dismissed claims on other websites that the bomber had been just a “potential recruit” who was “not required to go through full security checks [at Chapman FOB] in order to help gain [his] trust”. Instead, as I wrote on Saturday, I suggested that “the bomber was able to evade safety search standards [at the US base] by relying on a long-term informant-handler relationship with CIA personnel stationed at the outpost. This would lead to the strong possibility that the informant-turned-bomber had been groomed as a double agent from the very start by local Taliban operatives”. A news report has just appeared on NBC, which appears to confirm just that: namely that the suicide bomber had been “an al-Qaeda double agent” who was “arrested by Jordanian intelligence more than a year ago”, and turned over to the Americans by his Jordanian handlers, who believed he “had been successfully reformed”. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0220

  • More on sudden death of Jordan’s ex-spy chief. The Washington Post‘s David Ignatius is one of a handful of US columnists who are paying attention to the sudden death in Vienna, Austria, of Saad Kheir, 56, former director of Jordan’s General Intelligence Department.
  • Deposed Thai leader back in Cambodia, as accused spy is pardoned. Cambodian authorities have decided to free Siwarak Chothipong, whom they accused last month of spying on the flight itinerary of visiting former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Meanwhile, Thaksin is back in Cambodia, a sign that the country will continue to back pro-Thaksin political forces in Thailand.

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Silence over sudden death of Jordan’s ex-spy chief in Vienna

Imperial Hotel, Vienna

Imperial Hotel

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
There is widespread silence in Jordan about the sudden death of the country’s former intelligence chief, at his luxury Vienna hotel room, on Wednesday. The country’s tightly controlled press barely mentioned the news of the death of Field Marshal Said Bashir Saad Kheir, 56, whose body was reportedly discovered in bed by a maid in Vienna’s Imperial Hotel. Austrian police representatives have ruled out foul play in Kheir’s death, which they attributed to heart failure. But there is conflicting information about the purpose of the former spy chief’s visit to the Austrian capital, which is considered the world’s largest espionage hub, with the highest density of foreign intelligence agents on Earth. Read more of this post

Secret meetings reported between CIA and Saddam loyalists

Al-Douri

Al-Douri

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The CIA is reportedly participating in a series of secret meetings with the two main leaders of the Ba’athist insurgency in Iraq. According to Intelligence Online and United Press International, CIA agents have entered truce negotiations with Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri (photo) and Mohammed Yunis al-Ahmad, who head most of the armed Sunni groups in Iraq. Until the 2003 US invasion, Al-Ahmad was an army general during the latter part of Saddam’s reign, while al-Douri was vice-president and deputy chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council. The US has put out a reward of $1 million for Al-Ahmad, who is reportedly operating out of Syria. Al-Douri, who is said to be in Syria as well, is also wanted by the US in exchange for a $10 million reward. Read more of this post