Revelations that suspected Afghanistan suicide bomber Humam al-Balawi, was a double agent have provoked a sweeping investigation by US intelligence.
Last week, Al-Balawi was allowed to walk into the CIA Chapman base in Afghanistan unchecked as he was due to pass on vital information. But instead he delivered a different message: he detonated explosives strapped to his body and killed seven CIA operatives and one Jordanian Army Captain.
The death of the Jordanian, Sharif Ali bin Zeid – a relative of King Abdullah – highlighted the previously little-known links the CIA has with Jordanian intelligence.
Al-Balawi is said to have been recruited by the Jordanians to infiltrate al Qaeda and the Taliban due to his past association with Islamists.
The day he entered the CIA base he was supposed to have information on Bin Laden’s second-in-command – information highly prized by the US.
Al-Balawi’s previous involvement with pro-al Qaeda websites and blogs gave him a credible cover to mix with al Qaeda but the Jordanians were convinced – wrongly, as it turned out – that he had been successfully “de-radicalised” when they took him on board.
The deaths last week of its seven operatives was the CIA’s second most deadly hit in the organisation’s history. Together with the intelligence issues thrown up by the Christmas Day bomb attempt, US security has been left reeling.