Questions About CIA Bomber’s Reliability Before Attack

'Promising Informant' Entered Base Unsearched

by Jason Ditz, January 06, 2010

A week after the deadly CIA bombing at Forward Operating Base Chapman in the Khost Province, evidence continues to trickle in about the attacker, Jordanian informant Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, but questions continue to linger about how such a high profile attack was able to be carried out.

According to one US intelligence official, though Balawi had provided some lower level tips to Jordan’s General Intelligence Directorate (GID) in the past, there were questions about his reliability at the CIA.

Despite these questions, Balawi was allowed into one of the CIA’s most important bases in southern Afghanistan entirely unsearched, and carried out an attack which killed seven CIA agents, including the base chief.

Officials say Balawi was one of the most promising informants they had in years, and enthusiasm over this seems to have been at the center of what seems to have been an incredibly careless decision to not only invite Balawi on to the base to deliver his “urgent” information in person, but to give him direct access to most of the top CIA staff on base without any security check.

In the end the attack will almost certainly require a major rethink in the way the CIA does business, but perhaps more importantly if Balawi was their best lead, it suggests the agency has very little credible information to fall back on.

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