Taliban suicide bombing shatters CIA’s anti-AQ Afghan nerve center; Update: Bomber was a regular informant turned double agent

posted at 2:15 pm on January 2, 2010 by Allahpundit

I have no grand insights to offer but this is too awful and too … astounding, really, to be relegated to Headlines. These people were the tip of the American spear against jihadist kingpins in the Afghan/Pakistani border region, the innermost circle in a big Venn diagram that starts with the CIA, proceeds to the units tasked with finding intel on AQ, and ends with the elite charged with building the target list for drone operators. In one split second, that last circle was practically erased.

If you thought the biggest security breach of the past week was Flight 253, think again.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed that the bombing was carried out by a CIA operative who switched sides and offered to help the Taliban. The Associated Press quoted a commander from the Pakistan Taliban, Qari Hussain, who claimed the attack was in retaliation for the CIA’s drone attacks aimed at Taliban leaders across the border in Pakistan. The drone strikes have succeeded in killing several top Taliban commanders, including chief Baitullah Mehsud…

ABC News has learned that the bomber was invited into the heavily guarded camp as a possible informant, but wasn’t searched.

The bomber, who was dressed in an Afghan military uniform, was escorted to the gym for a meeting with a senior CIA debriefer, according to intelligence sources familiar with the incident. When the bomber was brought into the gym he blew himself up, killing seven and seriously injuring an additional six officers who had gathered there to wait for him.

Needless to say, it was almost certainly an inside job:

Several former intelligence officials described the attack in Afghanistan as
“devastating” to the agency. A number of the officers killed had been counterterrorism operatives since before the 9/11 attacks. The base played a critical role in the CIA’s significant operations in the country, including helping with drone attacks and informant networks in Pakistan…

According to a military official who works on Afghan issues, Chapman has grown substantially in recent months and is a base for both military and intelligence operations. Because of its size, the officer said, the suicide bomber likely penetrated multiple layers of security before detonating the explosives…

Forward operating bases typically house hundreds of soldiers, and Afghan forces and private contractors also often live on such bases. But CIA outposts on these bases are usually small—no more than 15 or maybe 20 people, so 13 casualties is likely a majority of the CIA base personnel, said one former agency official.

Among the dead: The CIA’s base chief, a mother of three. My suspicion with sophisticated Taliban operations like this always runs to jihadbot elements in Pakistan’s intel agency, but corruption among Afghan security is a fact of life and the Journal says the base’s mission was an open secret among Afghan locals. It’s possible — and actually way more disturbing — to think that this was totally freelanced, with Afghan “allies” inside the base either bought off or coopted by the Taliban to look the other way at security checkpoints. The question is, why now? They’ve had every incentive to hit the base over the past eight years. It’d be interesting to know how many attacks have been attempted over time or whether some sort of change was made recently to security that might have invited an attempt.

I’ll leave you on a positive note: The revenge has already begun.

Update: Maybe it wasn’t an inside job after all. Maybe the bomber was simply so trusted by base security that they waved him through — unbeknownst to them, as a newly minted Taliban double agent.

The informant was a Pakistani and a member of the Wazir tribe from the Pakistani tribal area North Waziristan, according to the same source. The base security director, an Afghan named Arghawan, would pick up the informant at the Ghulam Khan border crossing and drive him about two hours into Forward Operating Base Chapman, from where the CIA operates.

Because he was with Arghawan, the informant was not searched, the source says. Arghawan also died in the attack

At least 13 officers gathered in the base’s gym to talk with the informant, suggesting he was highly valued. His prior visits to the base and his ability to get so close to so many officers also suggests that he had already provided the agency with valuable intelligence that had proven successful, former intelligence officials say…

“The Soviet Union during the Cold War, the Cubans during the Cold War were able to run double agents against the CIA very successfully,” says Clarke. “But for a non-nation state to be able to do this — for the Haqqani network of the Taliban to be able to do this — represents a huge increase in the sophistication of the enemy.”

Yeah, no kidding. Until now, I figured the punishment for anyone caught by the Taliban assisting the CIA was beheading, not reprogramming. I wonder if they made the guy do it by threatening to kill his family or if they really did flip him. Just like I wonder how much bad info the CIA’s getting right now from other informants who have gone bad.

As for the mystery of why the Taliban hit the base now instead of eight years ago, the Journal has the answer. Turns out this was their own version of a strike on one of the enemy’s big fish:

“We attacked on that particular day because we knew the woman who was leading the team” was there, the commander said.


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One post like this AP makes up for all your Meghan McCain posts in 2009.
Thanks for giving this story the attention it deserves.

CarolynM on January 2, 2010 at 5:27 PM

Full body search every time, including cavities, I don’t care if it hurts your feelings.

windansea on January 2, 2010 at 5:27 PM

Bleeds and Norman would be travelling a lot. /

CWforFreedom on January 2, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Exactly why the U.S. should have invaded with air campaigns and, if necessary, ground troups 30 years ago, starting with Iran and working outwards — followed by a complete political system conversion of the sort forced on Japan post-WWII — until the threat was neutralized permanently.

That, of course, will not happen in the lifetime of the youngest American. Thank Progressivism for sapping the will of nearly every person of influence in the past 50 years, on most points of the political spectrum.

JDPerren on January 2, 2010 at 5:34 PM

Perhaps killing your enemies would be better than endlessly spying on them. Really, I don’t know what the point of espionage may be, if you’re just going to sit around until your enemies have struck.

Kralizec on January 2, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Kralizec on January 2, 2010 at 5:48 PM

you gather what you can until you feel the moment is right.

This is just all too depressing. Some of our best and brightest, snuffed out in one instant.

blatantblue on January 2, 2010 at 5:53 PM

The hard fact is that the “hearts and minds” of the Afghan “people” are not for sale! The descendants of “The Great Khan” and their tribal cousins have no interest in being Westernized in any way. And, the human sewers that serve as their political leadership can only be rented. Americans are interlopers in a land where interlopers generally have their heads lopped off.

Nobody read their Kipling. (I know, “who or what was Kipling?” Look it up.) Americans do not know their OWN history (except the spun trash that passes for “social studies” in our heavily socialistic high schools) much less the history of Afghanistan. And, this includes our political leadership!
MB4 on January 2, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Quite right, and that’s why we can never, ever, trust the Sioux and Cherokee to act like Americans…oh wait.

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 6:02 PM

we can’t really blame Obama for this,…….

windansea on January 2, 2010 at 5:27 PM

Really? Barry, by showing that he is spineless in more ways than one, embolden the enemies. Hostile and violets activities are flaring out in a lot of places over the world.

bayview on January 2, 2010 at 6:05 PM

we can’t really blame Obama for this

windansea on January 2, 2010 at 5:27 PM

Yes we can.

Del Dolemonte on January 2, 2010 at 6:07 PM

I wish there are colorful activities over the world, but it was supposed to say violent and not violets.

bayview on January 2, 2010 at 6:08 PM

Really? Barry, by showing that he is spineless in more ways than one, embolden the enemies. Hostile and violets activities are flaring out in a lot of places over the world.

Totally. The peace that most of the world has known throughout modern history has been shattered by the current occupant of the White Hosue.

YYZ on January 2, 2010 at 6:12 PM

Del Delmonte,

Why are you stalking me in unrelated threads?

This is classic troll behavior.

David2.0 on January 2, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Not a troll, kid.

Just want an honest answer. On another thread, you said that “neocons” were just as dangerous to America as al Queda, and should be hunted down and killed. When several posters asked you to define “neocon” and why they were “dangerous to America”, you refused to answer, and called a bunch of people names before fleeing that thread.

Please go back to that thread and give us honest answers. Is that so terribly hard?

Del Dolemonte on January 2, 2010 at 6:12 PM

Just a guess…. but…

Check on the whereabouts and for the saftey of the guys family…

These folks are playing hardball over there…. remember they have much less respect for life in their worldview… threatening the guys family would be an easy way to turn him…

Romeo13 on January 2, 2010 at 6:13 PM

Am I the only one wondering just how “reliable” the informant/bomber was?

I agree with posters above that said we gotta take the enemy out, not just spy on them. But I don’t see a serious effort being made by the Bozo regime. They refuse to believe we’re in a war.

dogsoldier on January 2, 2010 at 6:19 PM

Quite right, and that’s why we can never, ever, trust the Sioux and Cherokee to act like Americans…oh wait.

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 6:02 PM

Would that be the Sioux and Cherokee that we pretty much wiped out? That we gave no option to EXCEPT to join American Culture? The Sioux and Cherokee that we waged war on for multiple Generations?… broke treaties with?… stole the land from?

Are you therefore suggesting that should be the Strategy in Afganistan? It “would” probably work…. genocide usualy does…

Kinda off the table though last time I checked…

Romeo13 on January 2, 2010 at 6:22 PM

Something stinks to high heaven here.

David2.0 on January 2, 2010 at 3:48 PM

Sure does – it’s called “islam”.

You might be able to rent a muslem, you can shower him with gifts and awards and esteem. But in the end, sooner or later, islam will trump any and all of that, and like the old tale of the “frog and the scorpion”, he will return to his true nature.

After literally countless examples, we in the West still close our eyes to the true nature of islam, and that will be how we lose our civilization.

Rebar on January 2, 2010 at 6:24 PM

I wonder if they made the guy do it by threatening to kill his family or if they really did flip him.

Considering the fact that the man is dead, I would not be surprised if they did threaten his family. After all, he is dead either way. I wonder if Obama’s stated plans to leave asap will make people more likely to go over…after all if the US leaves a lot of the people who did work with the US will be dead too.

I don’t think it is just a question of spying on the enemy either, I think they want to know just who and where these people are.

Terrye on January 2, 2010 at 6:30 PM

I certainly intend that we impose a political settlement upon Central Asia by use of force!

Yes “genocide” is off the table, for now, while this is a non-nuclear conflict. I don’t know how long it will stay that way. After the next nuclear war, I’m sure we’ll be instructed on how foolish it was to avoid waging a sharp general war to prevent it; I say that because I was instructed on how foolish the West was not to wage a general war to prevent the last atomic war.

The Sioux and Cherokee were abused and harshly rounded up, but were not destroyed and genocide was never national policy from Washington. My point in bringing them up is these wild savages somehow manage to turn their backs on 4000 years of tribalism and brutality to become regular democratic citizens of the First World; maybe it’s not so crazy to think of?

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 6:32 PM

You might be able to rent a muslem, you can shower him with gifts and awards and esteem. But in the end, sooner or later, islam will trump any and all of that, and like the old tale of the “frog and the scorpion”, he will return to his true nature.

After literally countless examples, we in the West still close our eyes to the true nature of islam, and that will be how we lose our civilization.

Rebar on January 2, 2010 at 6:24 PM

I don’t think this is always true. After all, that young Nigerian’s father is a Muslim and he tried to turn his own son in. He was afraid of the kind of people the kid was hanging out with. And in Afghanistan, the US does have allies and many of them are Muslims and some of them have died right along side those Americans.

There is definitely a strain in the religion that is toxic, but I don’t think all Muslims are part of that strain. But like a lot of other people I am sick and tired of hearing about Islamic terrorists.

Terrye on January 2, 2010 at 6:35 PM

Probably not. So few of them ever came in contact with her, but those few who did were impressed. What really “made the sale” was the respect paid her, out of her knowledge, by all her subordinates. So again, it depends on the woman. If she’s a capable leader who builds respect among her subordinates, that radiates out. That should be a basic requirement for any envoy to foriegners.

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Wow, so it’s just a question of confidence and the respect others hold for you. That’ll come as great news for the millions of muslim women around the world who live in gender slavery. Chin up, girls!

Infidoll on January 2, 2010 at 6:36 PM

Wow, so it’s just a question of confidence and the respect others hold for you. That’ll come as great news for the millions of muslim women around the world who live in gender slavery. Chin up, girls!
Infidoll on January 2, 2010 at 6:36 PM

Yes that’s an important first step, the will to resist.

Did you forget you were talking about an American base supervisor for the CIA, not an Afghan milkmaid? I dunno how a stallsweeper of any gender builds respect among soldiers. That’s not likely to be an American problem.

Your idea that we can’t get traction with Muslims in Central Asia unless we keep our women docile, is not born out by several centuries of interaction by western powers.

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 6:48 PM

There is definitely a strain in the religion that is toxic, but I don’t think all Muslims are part of that strain.

Terrye on January 2, 2010 at 6:35 PM

You know what you call a muslem who doesn’t believe in jihad?

A good human being, and a bad muslem.

Jihad is the beating heart of islam, jihad is islam, islam is jihad. Murdering infidels is the highest form of worship in islam, allah is pleased by the scent of the blood of the unbelievers and rewards the spiller of that blood with a ticket to paradise.

To the extent that an individual muslem does not follow the jihad imperative, makes them an apostate and less likely to get to paradise on the Final Day. To judge islam based on the actions of those who are poor adherents of mohammad’s death cult, is wrong – foolish even.

Rebar on January 2, 2010 at 7:16 PM

Rebar on January 2, 2010 at 7:16 PM

Bingo. To the extent that even in places where Islam is generally “moderate”–where the average citizen self identifies as Muslim but seldom or never attends mosque and whose actual practice tends more to animism than “book” islam, those people will snap into the jihad/violent mindset when pressured even a little. So the “moderate” muslim is really only moderate when nothing is going on. When the crap hits the fan, count on the majority to lock step with the fanatics.

TexasDan on January 2, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Your idea that we can’t get traction with Muslims in Central Asia unless we keep our women docile, is not born out by several centuries of interaction by western powers.

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 6:48 PM

Whether women in the west are docile isn’t the point. It’s equally irrelevant, since we’re on the subject, how muslims who died before you were born collectively felt about Queen Victoria. The point is whether, to the extent our goal is to win the hearts and minds of a misogynistic stone-age culture, women base commanders are a good idea. We’re supposed to be fighting a war, not doing outreach work for western values.

And if you’re game, please point out a couple of examples of how we in the west have gotten “traction” with the muslim world. I seem to be watching a different movie.

Infidoll on January 2, 2010 at 7:31 PM

The question is, why now?

Hmmm, let’s see… We have a disengaged CinC, an AG that is beholden to the Yemeni’s at Gitmo, a war on the CIA by the subpoena pushers at Justice, a switch from offense to defense in the GWOT, man-caused disasters… It goes on and on.

And just to stir the pot a bit more, remember the Taliban took out the head of the Northern Alliance a few weeks before their 9-11 spectacular.

Add in 100+ cohorts for the UndieBomber and the question isn’t why now, it’s why not now?

Bruno Strozek on January 2, 2010 at 8:02 PM

Infidoll

Yeah we’re at war. So how bout we don’t stunt half our manpower because their gender is politically incorrect.

For whatever reason you have to believe your ignorance of the region and its history is morally stronger than some wimpy insistence on using female commanders.

This “stone-age culture” somehow skipped a few generations a while back…so what, right?

Go get some serious books on Pakistan and learn how glad they are to copy what worked of the Raj. Their army, for instance.

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 8:43 PM

How about a little Genghis Khan? Wipe out the bomber’s family. Raze his home (hut). Action will speak louder than words to the next guy thinking about terrorism. But this is too much to ask of Barry.

bayview on January 2, 2010 at 8:49 PM

So,the Muslim Jihadys really do hate women,or is it only the western women!!!!!!!!!!!!(Sarc).

canopfor on January 2, 2010 at 8:51 PM

we can’t really blame Obama for this, it’s sadly another lesson for the CIA to learn, same as the Saudi Prince learned from assasination attempt, don’t trust anyone. Full body search every time, including cavities, I don’t care if it hurts your feelings.

windansea on January 2, 2010 at 5:27 PM

Sure we can. Obama is a feckless weasel. He’s in Hawaii ordering another round of snowcones for the press corps.

That said, you’re getting warm on the body cavity searches. But I’ll add a requirement of a solitary strip down at 75 yards followed by a spread-eagle search face down on the ground.

BuckeyeSam on January 2, 2010 at 9:07 PM

So,the Muslim Jihadys really do hate women,or is it only the western women!!!!!!!!!!!!(Sarc).

canopfor on January 2, 2010 at 8:51 PM

The only females they respect are female camels. They’d walk a mile for a double humper.

Geochelone on January 2, 2010 at 9:09 PM

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 8:43 PM

I’d respond but I’m not entirely sure what it is you’re trying to say. I’m also not sure, reading over what you’ve written, that you really understand my point. Is english a second language for you?

Infidoll on January 2, 2010 at 9:15 PM

Infidoll on January 2, 2010 at 9:15 PM

Okay. Could you please explain your point a little more?

Black Yoshi on January 2, 2010 at 10:50 PM

Nobody has noted that the CIA in Afghanistan used to be guarded by Blackwater. But that offended the sensibilities of the readers of the Washington Post. So Blackwater was fired. Thanks for making us so much weaker WaPo.

fleiter on January 2, 2010 at 11:27 PM

We give CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION away on a treasonous daily basis.

THE CHOSEN ONE on January 2, 2010 at 11:34 PM

Dumb, so dumb…

Listen, he was never an agent or a double agent. He was an enemy with a plan to infil. So he doesn’t show up in a Trojan horse, duh.

That’s my hypothesis.

I know, I know, we don’t have money to do counter-intel. What? Our gov’t blows tons of cash and prints it too.

father on January 3, 2010 at 2:49 AM

Agent/Double Agent likely kept stats on how many days, weeks he wasn’t check upon arrival to CIA office in Afghan. ‘

Plus, get this, the guinea pigs that he gave up because he did rat someone out, no? They either were clueless and were given false plans to give up at questioning or they were innocent, easy as that. They were a small sacrifice to embarrass the CIA/USA.

Rome was embarrassed many times, but Goths/VisiGoths. I hope our country can withstand anything thrown at it.

father on January 3, 2010 at 2:57 AM

this informant had no choices. If he was found out to be an informant for the US, then AQ knew it, and threatened him and his family. His only choice to save his family was to detonate himself. Most likely scenario.

ted c on January 3, 2010 at 7:10 AM

Sure we can. Obama is a feckless weasel. He’s in Hawaii ordering another round of snowcones for the press corps.

That said, you’re getting warm on the body cavity searches. But I’ll add a requirement of a solitary strip down at 75 yards followed by a spread-eagle search face down on the ground.

BuckeyeSam on January 2, 2010 at 9:07 PM

I am embarrassed to admit that the snowcone photo-op was in the headlines of my newspaper in PR. Just because we have “piraguas”, that in some sort of weird way makes Obama similar or identifies with PR. Bull. It’s in Spanish but you get the gist.

http://www.elnuevodia.com/obamallevaasushijasacomerpiraguas-655022.html

ProudPalinFan on January 3, 2010 at 9:14 AM

1st off, my condolences to the CIA. Those officers were doing dangerous and hard work in a foreign country to make us all safer. Because of their bravery and courage, they will be missed.
2nd, you can run but you can’t hide, Taliban.

Rightwingguy on January 3, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Seems to me a full body scanner would do wonders there and not in an airport. Some of the posters here have pointed out the obvious, the CIA is at war, as are we, with a group of devious but effective terrorists. They let their guard down and were punished for it. This happens all in all wars. It would be interesting to find out if the new “reset” policy of the Obama admin. somehow bled down to that base and instituted new ways of handling people. The Amer. Spec. noted in one of their articles that many of the career bureaucrats inside the bowels of the State Dept were more than happy to stop doing their jobs and look the other way. They resisted Bush’s agenda from the start.

http://truthandcommonsense.com/2009/12/31/this-i-believe-ive-seen-it-at-the-local-level-obamas-reset-gives-green-light-to-look-the-over-way/

archer52 on January 3, 2010 at 4:07 PM

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