Jordanian double-agent behind CIA bombing (NBC Nightly News, Jan. 4, 2010) — The suicide bomber who killed 7 CIA operatives in Afghanistan last week was a doctor from Jordan who was also an al-Qaida operative. NBC’s Richard Engel reports (03:06)
By Robert Windrem (senior NBC News Producer) and Richard Engel (NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent)
January 4, 2010
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-Qaidas 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 CIAs 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. …
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. …
Key base for CIA
According to Western officials, bin Zeid, along with the seven CIA officers, were killed when al-Balawi, the formerly trusted informant turned double-agent, detonated his suicide belt at Camp Chapman.
Some of the officers 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. …
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.
Topical report on this site
CIA Bomber’s Tangled Web (March 4, 2010)
New Details in CIA Bombing (Jan. 10, 2010)
Balawi Fit Suicide Bomber Profile (Jan. 5, 2010)
Ayman al-Zawahiri Personality Profile (June 3, 2009)
“Bin Laden’s Brain”
The Abrasively Negativistic Personality
of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri
Aubrey Immelman and Kathryn Kuhlmann
Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict
Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics
The report presents the results of an indirect assessment of the personality of Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Information concerning al-Zawahiri was collected from open-source media reports and synthesized into a personality profile using the second edition of the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which yields 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with Axis II of DSM-IV.
The personality profile yielded by the MIDC was analyzed on the basis of interpretive guidelines provided in the MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals. Al-Zawahiri’s primary personality patterns were found to be Contentious/oppositional and Dominant/controlling, with secondary features of the Dauntless/dissenting and Ambitious/self-serving patterns.
The amalgam of Contentious (negativistic, or passive-aggressive) and Dominant (aggressive, or sadistic) patterns in al-Zawahiri’s profile suggests the presence of Millon’s “abrasive negativist” syndrome. For these personalities, minor frictions easily exacerbate into major confrontations and power struggles. They are quick to spot inconsistencies in others actions or ethical standards and adept at constructing arguments that amplify observed contradictions. They characteristically take the moral high ground, dogmatically and contemptuously expose their antagonists’ perceived hypocrisy, and contemptuously, derisively, and scornfully turn on those who cross their path.
The major implication of the study is that it offers an empirically based personological framework for conceptualizing Ayman al-Zawahiri’s antagonistic negativism, single-minded commitment to a cause, inflammatory rhetoric, and forceful persuasiveness — qualities instrumental in Osama bin Laden’s insidious campaign to propagate diabolical enemy images of the West as a catalyst for incubating a political culture contrived to inculcate religious extremism in the Islamic world.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — January 4, 2009
Farhana Ali (RAND Corporation) and Jerrold M. Post, M.D. (George Washington University) at a counterterrorism panel. (Photo: Aubrey Immelman)
One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I reported that a female suicide bomber, in what has become an emerging pattern in Iraq — the mujahidaat — killed at least 38 and wounded 72 in an attack on pilgrims at the Imam Moussa al-Kadhim shrine in Kadhimiya, Iraq.
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