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January 06, 2010

That Attack On The CIA In Afghanistan? Looking Worse And Worse

Hard to believe that's possible since it was looking so bad and yet...

US intelligence officials believe that the suicide bomb attack that killed seven CIA officers in Afghanistan last month was planned with the help of Osama bin Laden’s close allies, raising fears that the al-Qaeda leader is enjoying a lethal resurgence.

They think that the attack could not have taken place without the prior knowledge and assistance of the Haqqanis, the powerful Taleban group thought to be shielding bin Laden.

...The attack was carried out by Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, who came to the CIA via Jordanian intelligence. He had already provided accurate information on the whereabouts of lower-level al-Qaeda and Taleban operatives but he was allowed on to the CIA’s Forward Operating Base Chapman without undergoing a security check and then permitted access to more than ten CIA employees, an extraordinarily high number to congregate around an Islamist informant. He detonated his bomb soon after entering the base, killing four CIA field agents, three CIA security guards and a Jordanian intelligence officer. One of the dead was the CIA’s chief at the base, a woman in her mid-thirties.

“Several of the [dead] were ... among the top five experts on al- Qaeda in the United States,” Mr Scheuer said. “When you lose that type of expertise, it’s very hard to replace it; impossible in the near term.”

Aside from killing some of the CIA's most experienced and knowledgeable officers the attack also benefited al Qaeda in other ways.

First, whether or not bin Laden is alive or not, the fact he and his top people are being credited with this hit adds luster to his myth and maybe the reality. In the strong/horse weak horse race, this is a boost for the bin Laden 'brand'.

Second, the bomber was supposed to be a Jordanian agent. Not only has the close relationship between Jordan and the US exposed (and that won't be popular back in Jordan), there's now likely to be a breach in trust between the US and their Jordanian counterparts. No one knows what good information won't be shared or believed in the future.

Check out this Hot Air post featuring Joe Scarborough talking about how this 'agent' was able to get so many CIA agents in one place and to get through any security checks.

It's hard to believe that loss of a relatively few number of people can do so much damage to the war effort but it seems to be the case. It's a chilling reminder that our enemy is out there and he's patient, clever and deadly.

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posted by DrewM. at 11:17 PM

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