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CIA post bomber gave useful al-Qaida intelligence, Jordanians say

WASHINGTON — The Jordanian double agent who staged a suicide attack on a CIA base last week had supplied intelligence agencies with credible leads about al-Qaida plans to attack targets in Jordan and in western countries, Jordanian government officials said Tuesday.

The bomber, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, began volunteering information to Jordanian operatives last year from Pakistan, after moving there ostensibly to further his medical studies, two officials said. It was the first of several contacts, they said, that ended Dec. 30 with Balawi's admission to one of the CIA's most sensitive posts in eastern Afghanistan.

The new details about the informer-turned-bomber emerged amid increasing criticism by former intelligence officials of security procedures that allowed the man to enter a CIA base without being adequately searched, and also to position himself in the middle of a large group of Americans before setting off the bomb.

The blast killed seven CIA officers and contractors and wounded six others in the deadliest attack on the agency in 25 years. A Jordanian intelligence captain who worked with the informer also was killed.

Balawi's meeting at the CIA base in Khost province was arranged after the informer promised information about top al-Qaida leaders. The meeting was initially set to take place in Pakistan but the plans were changed for reasons that are not clear, a Jordanian official said.

CIA post bomber gave useful al-Qaida intelligence, Jordanians say 01/05/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 11:01pm]
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