WASHINGTON: The suicide bomber who killed eight people inside a CIA base in Afghanistan was a Jordan-born terrorist double agent who was
invited to the base because he claimed to have information targetting Osama bin Laden’s second-in-command, a former senior
US intelligence official and a
foreign government official confirmed on Monday.
The bombing killed seven CIA employees - four officers and three contracted security guards - and a Jordanian intelligence officer, Ali bin Zaid, according to a second former US intelligence official.
The former senior intelligence official and the foreign official said the bomber was Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, a 36-year old doctor from Zarqa, Jordan, who had been recruited by Jordanian intelligence. Zarqa is the hometown of slain al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. NBC News first reported the bomber’s identity.
He was arrested more than a year ago by Jordanian intelligence and was thought to have been persuaded to support US and Jordanian efforts against al-Qaida, according to the NBC report. He was invited to Camp Chapman, a tightly secured CIA forward base in Khost province on the fractious Afghan-Pakistan frontier, because he was offering urgent information to track down Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man.
The CIA declined to comment on the report.
Hajj Yacoub, a self-proclaimed spokesman for the Taliban in Pakistan, identified the bomber on Muslim militant Web sites as Hammam Khalil Mohammed, also known as Abu-Dujana al-Khurasani. There was no independent confirmation of Yacoub’s statement. Al-Balawi was not searched for bombs when he got onto Camp Chapman, according to both former officials and a current intelligence official. He detonated the explosive shortly after his debriefing began, according to one of the former intelligence officials.