The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole who Infiltrated the CIA

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Joby Warrick, who covers intelligence for the Washington Post, gives an account of how a Jordanian double-agent penetrated both the inner circle of al-Qaeda and the highest reaches of the CIA, and then blew himself up, killing seven CIA agents, in Khost, Afghanistan. The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole who Infiltrated the CIA takes us inside the CIA’s secret war against al-Qaeda and tells who Humam Khalil al-Balawi was and how he managed to become a dangerous superspy.


Joby Warrick

Comments [7]

Sumer Kolcak

While FBI have alot of decent people in it. You probably can't find 1 CIA agent that is not a murderer.

Aug. 04 2011 05:10 PM
John Cogswell from Boston MA

Henry brings up a very good point. Arabic countries surrounding Israel, while they do take in refugees, do not done so on a permanent basis. I am given to understand they are not permitted citizenship or permission to own property in their host countries.

So basically they are disposessed. And with no easy solution to that. It would be easy for an individual growing up in that sort of environment to have a sort of well, set of blinders on their perception. As addressed by the author in the article.

Esther, I suspect your question is strictly rhetorical. Either that or you are refusing to acknowledge the passive complicity of regional government who play on this by their advancement of Anti-West politics.

Hopefully with the Arab Spring starting to take root in the region we may eventually see a softening of this political rhetoric that is so popular in the region. Time will tell.

Aug. 03 2011 03:45 PM
henry from somerset

Esther is spot on. When I was in Israel in 1953 the land was covered with tents (they called these tent settlements Maabaroth in Hebrew) occupied by hundreds of thousand Jews from North Africa, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Iran, etc forced to flee from those countries without property etc. Israel absorbed them somehow over many years.
Why Israel and Jews in the world not make effective efforts to make this known to the world is, I confess, a puzzle to me. Perhaps the world was just interested in one side of the story, the Arab refugees' side.
Why the Arab nations refused to absorb their Arab brother refugees in their vast and rich countries is a scandalous indifference.

Aug. 03 2011 01:18 PM
Phil Henshaw from way uptown

It's curious we are so amazed by the al-Qaeda belief system, but don't really ask probing questions as to why. They do act quite a bit like they are extremely offended by us. I don't think I've heard anyone other than myself ask what we might be doing that would rise to the level of contempt they display, you know, take them seriously as human beings, as the reporter said one really has to do.

Of course, it is possible that like any social network, al-Qaeda has simply gone mad with believing it's own self-inflated story. We certainly see that in our own politics a lot, and in Nazi Germany and things, so it does happen a lot with people. Nearly all people seem to consider their own cultural world view to be the reality everyone else lives in, for example. Theirs could simply be exceedingly intolerant.

Still, there generally is also some basis for any persistent complaint. There would be natural friction between a culture that believes religion is the only civil authority and one like ours that doesn't, for example. I don't think that clash rises to the level of extreme level offense from us they express, though.

The one thing I've noticed that might (to them) justify their contempt and complaints of our intruding on them is something that to us seems like nothing at all. So that fits the puzzle quite well on both counts. It's how our economic system is a model for everyone to take ever expanding control over the planet, by ever expanding steps. That's another way to phrase the concept of "normal economic growth", as an institution for continually doubling everyone's control of everything on earth.

Do the math, that's what it actually implies and what our consumption of the world's resources reflects. I don't think al-Qaeda thinks of it that way probably, but it does seem to rise to the level of their complaint.

Aug. 03 2011 01:16 PM
henry from somerset

fascinating investigation, but isn't a bit far fetched to conclude on the basis of one individual who blew himself up that other suicide bombers may not be from the ranks of semi-educated delusional street youths who do fall for the myth of 72 virgins etc?

Aug. 03 2011 12:52 PM
Esther from usa

I like how this guest portrayed this agent growing up angry b/c of losing his home in what is now Israel. Please... enough of this ruse. Plenty of people were displace post WW11 and many times in history. Many sephardic Jews were displaced from there ancestral home from Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, etc yet they have not reverted to suicide bombings. I'm so tired of hearing this as an excuse or motivation for something destructive.

Aug. 03 2011 12:49 PM
Stephen from Inwood

Have any of the CIA desk jockeys been "punished"

Aug. 03 2011 12:35 PM

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