Friday, February 3, 2012


When triple-agent Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi was driven to the CIA’s secret outpost in eastern Afghanistan, no one deduced that he would be carrying 30 pounds of explosives in a suicide vest. But, he was.
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He blew himself up along with seven CIA employees and the Jordanian intelligence officer who drove him there. Balawi, age 36, was a doctor from the town of Zarqa, Jordon. Zarqa is a dreary industrial town north-east of Amman, Jordon’s capital. It is a town that spawns slaughterers, like the self-appointed killer who mowed down a British tourist and wounded five other members of a tour group in Amman in 2006. It is the hometown of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, who was killed by a US air strike in 2006. Jordanian intelligence arrested him a year before due to extremist sympathies, but he agreed to support the US in fighting al-Qaida after his arrest. The Jordanians thought Balawi had reformed and handed him over to the CIA so he could infiltrate al-Qaida in Afghanistan. He was driven to the CIA outpost offering urgent information to help locate Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s deputy. Upon arriving, he wasn’t searched for arms or bombs.
OSINT News is pleased with the CIA’s minimal amount of finger-pointing and basic search for causation, coupled with its unremitting and rock-hard mission of revenge for four of their murdered officers, including the base’s female chief and three contract security guards. This was the second biggest CIA loss of life since the 1983 bombing of their Beirut station, which killed 17 CIA case officers.

The CIA may have been partially duped, but they're getting the last laugh. Due to the "Whispering Campaign", few al-Qaida lieutenants sleep in their bedrooms at night, but chose to curl up outside, away from the drone’s watchfulness. The caginess of increasing HUMINT on the ground coupled with drone elusiveness checkmates Balawi-type suicide bombers. When all is said and done, in the aftermath of the CIA murders at their Forward Operating Base Chapman, the agency has conducted its counterterrorism mission well.

True, tactical slip-ups will crop up on this global battleground now and then, but no deep strategic flaw exists in the CIA’s battle against al-Qaida. Just ask Anwar al-Awlaki et al. There has been, and will continue to be, a dramatic increase in the use of Predator and Reaper drones in Yemen, Somalia, and in NW Pakistan. Drone killings of radical Islamists will be on-going at an increasing rate.

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and writes about the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). A portion of this site's ad revenues is donated to the AFIO. The views expressed on this site do not represent those of any organization he is a member of. We're always looking for different perspectives regarding the Intelligence Community- got a thought, article or comment you'd like to submit? Contact us on the Secure Contact Form

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