MSNBC has more details on the circumstances of the disaster at FOB Chapman.
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-Qaidaâ€™s 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 CIAâ€™s team based in Khost, Afghanistan, because he said he had urgent information he needed to relay about Zawahiri.
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.
Bin Zeidâ€™s prominent role offers rare insight into the close partnership between American and Jordanian intelligence officials and how crucial their relationship has become to the overall counterterrorism strategy.
“We have a close partnership with the Jordanians on counterterrorism matters,” a U.S. official told The Washington Post. “Having suffered serious losses from terrorist attacks on their own soil, they are keenly aware of the significant threat posed by extremists.”
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.
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