The suicide bomber who killed seven Central Intelligence Agency employees and contractors and a Jordanian intelligence officer was a double agent the CIA had recruited to provide intelligence on senior al Qaeda leadership, according to current and former U.S. officials and an Afghan security official.
The officials said the bomber was a Jordanian doctor likely affiliated and working with al Qaeda.
The Afghan security official identified the bomber as Hammam Khalil Abu Mallal al-Balawi, who is also known as Abu Dujana al-Khurasani. The Pakistani Taliban also claimed that Mr. al-Balawi was the bomber, Arabic-language Web sites reported Monday.
Mr. al-Balawi was brought to the CIA's base in Khost Province by the Jordanian intelligence official, Sharif Ali bin Zeid, who was working with the CIA, according to the Afghan security official.
The bomber appears to have been invited to an operational planning meeting on al Qaeda, a former senior U.S. intelligence official said. "It looks like an al Qaeda double agent," the former official said. "It's very sophisticated for a terrorist group that's supposedly on the run."
The blast on Dec. 30 killed four CIA officers, including the Khost base chief; three CIA contractors; and Mr. bin Zeid, officials said. Six CIA employees were wounded in the attack.
The Al Jazeera television network reported that the bomber had initially been recruited to provide intelligence on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden's top deputy, Ayman al Zawahiri. That couldn't be independently confirmed Monday.
The CIA's deputy chief of station from Kabul traveled to the meeting at the CIA Khost base, Forward Operating Base Chapman, according to former intelligence officials, pointing to the meeting's importance. The officer was wounded in the attack, according to people familiar with the matter.To read full Wall Street Journal story — Go Here Now.
© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.