January 5th, 2010
12:45 PM ET

Around the Web: How did the double agent gain the CIA's trust?

Many news reports Tuesday explore the question of how a double agent could have infiltrated the CIA and set off a suicide bomb inside a U.S. base in Afghanistan, killing seven CIA officers and a Jordanian intelligence agent.

 Joby Warrick and Peter Finn of the Washington Post report that the “attacker, a physician-turned-mole, had been recruited to infiltrate al-Qaeda's senior circles and had gained the trust of his CIA and Jordanian handlers with a stream of useful intelligence leads, according to two former senior officials briefed on the agency's internal investigation.”

“His track record as an informant apparently allowed him to enter a key CIA post without a thorough search, the sources said.”

The Wall Street Journal – in a report by Siobhan Gorman, Anand Gopal and Yochi J. Dreazen – says the bomber appeared “to have been invited to an operational planning meeting on al Qaeda.” The source for that information is a former senior U.S. intelligence official.

 “It looks like an al Qaeda double agent,” the report quotes that former official as saying. "It’s very sophisticated for a terrorist group that’s supposedly on the run.”

The New York Times reports that the bombing could “jeopardize relations between the C.I.A. and the Jordanian spy service, which officials said had vouched for the would-be informant.”

“The Jordanian service, called the General Intelligence Directorate, for years has been one of the C.I.A.’s closest and most useful allies in the Middle East,” write Richard A. Oppel Jr., Mark Mazzetti and Souad Mekhennet.

Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball report the suicide bomber may have been “a well-known Al Qaeda blogger.”

A former CIA official tells Isikoff and Hosenball: “It’s a huge screw-up.”

“The question is, why did they think they could trust this guy? What was the level of confidence that would allow somebody like this access to a place where there were this many officers?”

Some other news reports and perspectives:

- CNN: "Five American terror suspects appear in Pakistan court

- Karin Brulliard (Washington Post): “Pakistan worried U.S. buildup in Afghanistan will send militants across border

- Michael Crowley: “COIN toss: The cult of counterinsurgency

- Iqbal Akhund (Dawn): “Whose war is being waged?"

- Shaukat Qadir (National): “Just tell me where bin Laden is and I’ll take him out myself

- Carol Mann (Japan Times): “Usual anguish for Afghan women

- Bruce Riedel (Brookings): “Al Qaeda’s Yemen connection, America and the global Islamic Jihad

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