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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Comment pages: 1 2

Thanks for the positive note.

Valiant on January 2, 2010 at 2:20 PM

I think I’m going to be sick.

God rest their souls and provide comfort for their families.

ted c on January 2, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Reminds me of a Dale Brown story (Flight of the Old Dog series) where the Russians blew up such an outpost in some ‘Stan country.

Even if it was a bona-fide informer, why was the Jihadi even allowed near such a place? Seems to me that debriefing and other contacts w/locals should have been conducted anywhere else but at a nerve center. Short-sightedness indeed and deadly.

AH_C on January 2, 2010 at 2:23 PM

I think we are witnessing a new offensive in the GWOT. Undiepantsgate (along with the assertion that dozens of other AQ in Yemen are prepping to do the same) and this FOB Chapman attack are suggestive of an offensive.

ted c on January 2, 2010 at 2:24 PM

Cue MSM scurrying like rats; trying to find the nearest carpet to throw this under, in 3 . . . 2 . . .

Ryan Anthony on January 2, 2010 at 2:25 PM

There is going to be a lot more of this in the coming months and years because President Toonces has gone out of his way to define the USA as non-threatening, docile even, on the world stage. The culture of the Middle East understands only one form of diplomacy and that is the “strength.” We are no longer the “strong” opponent in their POV and they will take action accordingly.

You can also count on the leftists at the usual places to respond with glee that the CIA has taken casualties. They hate the CIA as much or more than they hate our country, capitalism and conservatism.

Consider a visit to Conservative Talk Forum by clicking on my name.

trapeze on January 2, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Thanks for this post, Allah. This story hasn’t yet received the attention it deserves.

flyfisher on January 2, 2010 at 2:26 PM

It is sad and it is devastating, but I can’t help but be annoyed with the super fast response of “revenge”……That should be the attitude always, even when a ‘lowly soldier’ dies. (Understand I mean no disrespect, just painting a picture) But, I never hear a response like this.

Sorry, it just bugs me.
Prayers for the families of these agents….and all of the families for all of our troops.

bridgetown on January 2, 2010 at 2:26 PM

oh my…how sad.

becki51758 on January 2, 2010 at 2:27 PM

The great anti-Jihadist columnist Diana West makes a rather cogent point about Afghanistan:

Worse is the conservative reaction. The futility of “nation building” in the Islamic world lost on the poor infidels, they deem the president’s plan correct even if undermined by the exit date.

This means the leftist White House and the conservative opposition have signed the same suicide pact to sink this country ever deeper into the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. For no achievable thing.

Not that our military, unleashed, couldn’t achieve whatever it wanted. Four years to roll back Nazi-occupied Europe, but eight years and counting to roll back Taliban-occupied bedrock?

Mister Ghost on January 2, 2010 at 2:28 PM

My gosh who do we trust? We can not even trust an Army doctor here in the U.S. to not kill American’s. We sure can not trust this bho and team to keep American’s here or overseas safe.

My heart aches for these American’s and their families. We will probably never know who they were, unless the msm gives their names out. God, Please be with these killed.

Come on, CIA, go get them big time!
L

letget on January 2, 2010 at 2:31 PM

FOB Chapman is a dusty little outpost a stone’s throw away from the Af-Pak border. It has an airstrip and a few buildings. Most landings there occur at night d/t low visibility (for the enemy). FOB Salerno is nearby, also with an airstrip (it’s like landing on a 1.5 football fields) and a base with a larger contigent of USMIL assets than FOB Chapman. Both are located in the Khost Bowl (valley area) in SE Afghanistan.

ted c on January 2, 2010 at 2:31 PM

The Buck stops with Obama . No wait , Bush , but Bush , but Bush….

borntoraisehogs on January 2, 2010 at 2:31 PM

If killing or maiming 13 people can “cripple” an American war front, we’re not putting enough effort into recruitment and training.

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 2:32 PM

There seem to be an over abundance of senior AK, is that because of turn over?

Cindy Munford on January 2, 2010 at 2:33 PM

And Dear Leader doesn’t think this is a war….

d1carter on January 2, 2010 at 2:33 PM

Dang. Just dang.

Weight of Glory on January 2, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Pretty sad commentary that we screen an 85 year old Grandma more in a midwest airport than we do this guy being allowed to walk in the middle of our major CIA planning team in the middle of a war.

B+

tatersalad on January 2, 2010 at 2:35 PM

If these personnel were as key as AP indicates and were performing the roles that he alludes to, then this is a lot of people. Each is invaluable, priceless and treasured. We will recover, rearm and reevaluate. Then we will seek revenge through force……..or, simply, more strongly worded memos…..

*as Washington turns in his grave at Mt. Vernon….*

ted c on January 2, 2010 at 2:36 PM

When you have a weak horse wandering around in the WH, the enemies of the US are emboldened.

bayview on January 2, 2010 at 2:37 PM

Hasan
Abdullamutallab…
FOB Chapman….

strike 3

but, who’s counting…

ted c on January 2, 2010 at 2:38 PM

Trust, but verify.

Reagan’s sardonically paradoxical insight (in effect, “trust, but don’t trust“) into how one deals with one’s enemies has been forgotten by the CIA.

Searching someone at a security checkpoint is THE basic rule of war.

Whoever countermanded this bedrock reality got these people killed.

profitsbeard on January 2, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Taliban suicide bombing shatters CIA’s anti-AQ Afghan nerve center

This is being advertised why, exactly?

Darth Executor on January 2, 2010 at 2:43 PM

RE: Why now?

Obama has already announced to the world his desire to ‘exit’ the conflict. This is just a little incentive to encourage him to ‘exit’ a little faster.

Skandia Recluse on January 2, 2010 at 2:43 PM

This is being advertised why, exactly?

Darth Executor on January 2, 2010 at 2:43 PM

See Redstate post. Obama shot his big mouth off on this, thinking he would look good praising the dead agents, when all he did was draw attention to the base:

It appears Barack Obama’s inexperience and amateurishness has just started bonfires on the bridges connecting him to the American intelligence community and delivered a huge, HUGE psychological win to Al Qaeda.

People tell me the President’s rush to acknowledge the attack on the CIA in Afghanistan and mourn the deaths openly, publicly, and via press release is a huge no no. The CIA and greater intelligence community would prefer not to have the attention put on them. Additionally, because the President took the time to draft a blanket statement focused on the CIA in general instead of individually and more privately focusing on the families of the victims, it acknowledges the CIA’s work in Afghanistan, acknowledges that the attack has an impact on the CIA, and gives the terrorists a new recruiting tool — “you too can cause America to publicly mourn the loss of their spies.”

To you and me this may not seem like a big deal. But I’m told this is hugely significant and shows just how out of touch the Obama administration is with the intelligence community. I’m told that no other President has issued such blanket statements of public mourning directed toward an attack on the CIA and thereby having the White House itself confirming an attack on our intelligence community.

The intelligence community is licking its wounds right now and Obama’s rush to confirm for the world that the community suffered such wounds has the intelligence community simmering tonight and Al Qaeda preparing a PR blitz with what they view as good news.

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 2:47 PM

As a matter of winning the respect of an all male, one step up from neanderthal population, how does it help us to have a woman in charge of operations at this base? I’m inclined to imagine it doesn’t.

Infidoll on January 2, 2010 at 2:49 PM

CIA–blamed on one day for “torture” and pursued by the US Attorney General. Blamed the next day for failing to connect the dots on Umar Abdullmutallab and then lauded for heroism and sacrifice when they lose half a dozen…

CIA= convenient scapegoat targeted by White House. They get a pat on the head when they suffer, and tormented the other 364 days a year with penny ante BS that weaknens them in their primary mission–protecting the US.

This is utter crap.

ted c on January 2, 2010 at 2:50 PM

So, who is sourcing the Taliban’s intel?

The ‘open secret’ line begs the issue at hand.

CPT. Charles on January 2, 2010 at 2:51 PM

As a matter of winning the respect of an all male, one step up from neanderthal population, how does it help us to have a woman in charge of operations at this base? I’m inclined to imagine it doesn’t.
Infidoll on January 2, 2010 at 2:49 PM

Depends on the woman.

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 2:51 PM

This is utter crap.

ted c on January 2, 2010 at 2:50 PM

This is the Chicago way. One day you’re BFF, and the next you’re under the bus if you embaressed the Powers That Be.

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 2:51 PM

If Bush were a governmental agency, Bush would be the CIA.

ted c on January 2, 2010 at 2:51 PM

you guys need to lighten up…you are so negative. We will move on and succeed. I hate every time something bad happens too us the sky falls. Man up.

tomas on January 2, 2010 at 2:52 PM

So, who is sourcing the Taliban’s intel?

The ‘open secret’ line begs the issue at hand.

CPT. Charles on January 2, 2010 at 2:51 PM

FOB Chapman is ringed by hills. Mortars, rockets, small arms fire can be launched in there from the surrounding area. Locals afghanis work in there doing real glamorous (/s) and I’m sure some portajohnny cleaner likely put the finger on a few guys.

ted c on January 2, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Sadly, I think the CIA may realize it had it better under Bush, who kept his mouth shut, and had their back. All they did was repay him with leaks and the 2007 NIE estimate to stop him from doing anything about Iran.

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 2:54 PM

FOB Chapman is ringed by hills. Mortars, rockets, small arms fire can be launched in there from the surrounding area. Locals afghanis work in there doing real glamorous (/s) and I’m sure some portajohnny cleaner likely put the finger on a few guys.

ted c on January 2, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Wasn’t that other FOB that was attacked a few months ago where several soldiers died also in a valley ringed by hills? Who chooses these locations?

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 2:55 PM

This, unfortunately, is the type of thing that happens when we put an OJT President in training pants into the White House. The man has absolutely NO military background or training, and an even lower degree of understanding as to the prosecution of war. He is consumed with the far left ideology of NO war, NO weapons, NO defense, let’s all hold hands and cue up Kumbya.

He will, at some point soon, throw up his hands in mock despair, declare Bush’s war in Afghanistan to be another Vietnam and order our military to leave the TOA. 30% of the Democrat party will cheer wildly in the streets and about 275 million of the rest of America will start preparing for an all-out terrorist assault RIGHT HERE in all 57 states.

That, too, he will blame on George W. Bush. The fact that inaction and dithering for months on end will never enter his feeble brain.

GoldenEagle4444 on January 2, 2010 at 2:56 PM

Wasn’t that other FOB that was attacked a few months ago where several soldiers died also in a valley ringed by hills? Who chooses these locations?

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 2:55 PM

No, different FOB.

Locations? We would prefer nice flat locations not ringed by hills/mountains except that Afghanistan happens to be very few nice flat locations, that happen to be ringed with hills/mountains.

Terrain.

ted c on January 2, 2010 at 2:58 PM

The Pakistani Taliban claimed that the bombing was carried out by a CIA operative who switched sides and offered to help the Taliban.

People can either back the strong horse or the weak horse …

PackerBronco on January 2, 2010 at 2:59 PM

Wasn’t that other FOB that was attacked a few months ago where several soldiers died also in a valley ringed by hills? Who chooses these locations?

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 2:55 PM

Dien Bien Phu

the_nile on January 2, 2010 at 2:59 PM

How about this? Seize Pakistans nukes then carpet bomb the Af-Pak region for at least a year.

The see where we stand.

ThePrez on January 2, 2010 at 3:00 PM

I wonder if David Axelrod, former ad agency exec, sits in on intelligence briefings the way he did with the Afghanistan strategy. “Hey, Barry, great visuals if you go out there and tell people how these heroes died at the CIA base.” One wonders what highly secret intelligence Obama is letting him see.

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 3:00 PM

One wonders what highly secret intelligence Obama is letting him see.

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 3:00 PM

maybe his favorite hawaiian shave ice flavors?

ted c on January 2, 2010 at 3:01 PM

you guys need to lighten up…you are so negative. We will move on and succeed. I hate every time something bad happens too us the sky falls. Man up.

tomas on January 2, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Yup.

Seeing is believing: Hearts and Minds wars are nothing short of insane. You’ve heard of Full Metal Jacket? Watch Total Strait Jacket and say a prayer for our Canadian friends sharing the front line of madness.
MB4 on January 2, 2010 at 2:40 PM

What strikes me as insane is taking the trouble to ship some journalists and their video cameras into an outpost so they can film your supply chain fail.

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Terrain.

ted c on January 2, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Wouldn’t they still be better off going for higher ground?

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Imbecil in Chief

It appears Barack Obama inexperience and amateurishness has just started bonfires on the bridges connecting him to the American intelligence community and delivered a huge, HUGE psychological win to Al Qaeda.

People tell me the President’s rush to acknowledge the attack on the CIA in Afghanistan and mourn the deaths openly, publicly, and via press release is a huge no no. The CIA and greater intelligence community would prefer not to have the attention put on them. Additionally, because the President took the time to draft a blanket statement focused on the CIA in general instead of individually and more privately focusing on the families of the victims, it acknowledges the CIA’s work in Afghanistan, acknowledges that the attack has an impact on the CIA, and gives the terrorists a new recruiting tool — “you too can cause America to publicly mourn the loss of their spies.”

To you and me this may not seem like a big deal. But I’m told this is hugely significant and shows just how out of touch the Obama administration is with the intelligence community. I’m told that no other President has issued such blanket statements of public mourning directed toward an attack on the CIA and thereby having the White House itself confirming an attack on our intelligence community.

Schadenfreude on January 2, 2010 at 3:03 PM

How about this? Seize Pakistans nukes then carpet bomb the Af-Pak region for at least a year.

The see where we stand.

ThePrez on January 2, 2010 at 3:00 PM

That is as likely to happen as Barry is to discover Jesus.

bayview on January 2, 2010 at 3:03 PM

That is as likely to happen as Barry is to discover Jesus.

bayview on January 2, 2010 at 3:03 PM

No problem. As far as he`s concerned, he`ll just look in a mirror and presto!

ThePrez on January 2, 2010 at 3:05 PM

I’m going to pretend this is all a big psych-out, and the CIA personnel are fine, it’s just the Taliban had to think they’d been blown up.

MayBee on January 2, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Terrain.

ted c on January 2, 2010 at 2:58 PM
Wouldn’t they still be better off going for higher ground?

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 3:03 PM

You really don’t want your airfields on the side of a mountain. And if you don’t have an airfield you’re limited as to what comes in and out. And remember, the threat here did not overwhelm their perimeter. They let it in.

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 3:05 PM

Our enemies are emboldened by our Anti-American President with a spine of Jell-O.

kingsjester on January 2, 2010 at 3:06 PM

This is what happens when you underestimate your enemy.

Sure, the muslems have a lot of stupid clumsy guys who cannot shoot straight, and we can have a lot of fun making fun of them and their exploding underwear.

But hidden in the mass of cannon fodder, there are some truly dangerous folks, and a few who are just plain lucky. From a few scattered tribes 1400 years ago, they are now well on their way to their ultimate goal – the entire world under sharia law – because they are more than willing to die to achieve it. Sure we can stack them up like cordwood on the battlefield, but unless we attack the root source – islam – they are simply going to wear us out.

Rebar on January 2, 2010 at 3:08 PM

Depends on the woman.

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 2:51 PM

You miss the point. We aren’t in a part of the world where men judge women on their merit (that’s a western value), we’re in a part of the world where men see women as property. Such men wouldn’t respect the men being led by a female base commander, and would see the situation as a show of weakness.

My question is, to the extent winning over the local population is an important goal (and it was apparently important enough that we dispensed with security protocols), why is a woman the base commander? Is she SO good that her appointment outweighed the likely negative attitude of the locals, or is this just another example of common sense taking a back seat to political correctness?

Infidoll on January 2, 2010 at 3:09 PM

You miss the point. We aren’t in a part of the world where men judge women on their merit (that’s a western value), we’re in a part of the world where men see women as property. Such men wouldn’t respect the men being led by a female base commander, and would see the situation as a show of weakness.

And that’s why Muslims refused to fight for Queen Victoria…oh wait.

It depends on the woman.

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 3:11 PM

ted c on January 2, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Ditto. And ObaMao should be subject to some very hard, pointed, relentless questioning re the mixed messages that this administration is sending.

onlineanalyst on January 2, 2010 at 3:14 PM

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.

They’ve changed the R.O.E.’s for combat, so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they loosened security – possibly banking on Obama’s Muslim charm offensive or some other idiotic delusion, as adding an extra layer of security.

Buy Danish on January 2, 2010 at 3:17 PM

And that’s why Muslims refused to fight for Queen Victoria…oh wait.

It depends on the woman.
Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Are you seriously suggesting that muslims fought for Queen Victoria because, after carefully considering her individual merit as a head of state and war leader they found her adequate?

Infidoll on January 2, 2010 at 3:19 PM

What changed is we now have a weak president who backed off the silly police actions in the area and waits until we are actually attacked to finally respond.

The same thing happened after the crotch bomber; TSA threw out new non-sensical regulation changes that were apparently prepared ahead of time. None of which directly related to the persistent suicide bombing attempts on aircraft post 9-11 we have all seen.

I give Obama a solid D+ on this effort so far.

Neo on January 2, 2010 at 3:20 PM

I’m going to pretend this is all a big psych-out, and the CIA personnel are fine, it’s just the Taliban had to think they’d been blown up.

MayBee on January 2, 2010 at 3:05 PM

No it’s real and Bury will use it as an excuse to decimate our intelligence gathering capabilities. His denigrating them one minute (Flight 253) and praising them the next (FOB Chapman) is not an amatuerish move at all. He will use this to show that the CIA is incompetent all the way around. He doe not care for the military or the intel community. Nothing he has ever said or done points in any other direction.

thomasaur on January 2, 2010 at 3:21 PM

Barack Obama was accused of double standards yesterday in his treatment of the CIA.
The President paid tribute to secret agents after seven of them were killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.
In a statement, he said the CIA had been ‘tested as never before’ and that agents had ‘served on the front lines in directly confronting the dangers of the 21st century’.
He lauded the victims as ‘part of a long line of patriots who have made great sacrifices for their fellow citizens and for our way of life’.
Yet the previous day he had blasted ‘systemic failures’ in the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies for failing to prevent the Christmas Day syringe bomb attack.

‘One day the President is pointing the finger and blaming the intelligence services, saying there is a systemic failure,’ said one agency official. ‘Now we are heroes. The fact is that we are doing everything humanly possible to stay on top of the security situation. The deaths of our operatives shows just how involved we are on the ground.’
But CIA bosses claim they were unfairly blamed at a time the covert government agency has been stretched further than ever before in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

They point to the murder of seven operatives at a remote mountain base in Afghanistan’s Khost Province as an example of how agents are putting their lives on the line at the vanguard of America’s far-flung wars.

The agents – including the chief of the base, a mother-of-three – were collecting information about militants when the suicide bomber struck on Wednesday.

The attack was the deadliest single day for the agency since eight CIA officers were killed in the 1983 bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut.

The base targetted by Wednesday’s suicide bomber was a control centre for a covert programme overseeing strikes by remote-controlled aircraft along Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan.

‘Those who fell were far from home and close to the enemy, doing the hard work that must be done to protect our country from terrorism. We owe them our deepest gratitude,’ CIA Director Leon Panetta said.

Some CIA officials are angry at being criticised by the White House after Abdulmutallab, 23, was allowed to slip through the security net and board a US-bound flight in Amsterdam despite evidence he was a terror threat.

The president complained that a warning from the former London engineering student’s father and information about an al Qaeda bomb plot involving a Nigerian were not handled properly by the intelligence networks.

But CIA officials say the data was sent to the US National Counterterrorism Centre in Washington, which was set up after the 9/11 attacks as a clearing house where raw data should be analysed.

Agents claim that is where the dots should have been connected to help identify Abdulmutallab as a threat.

UK Daily Mail.

CIA pushback on the mixed messages.

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 3:21 PM

The press keeps bringing up the “mother of three” CIA Base Chief. I feel sorry for her children, but if she’s responsible for the bomber not being searched, not for her.

elfman on January 2, 2010 at 3:22 PM

but unless we attack the root source – islam – they are simply going to wear us out. Rebar on January 2, 2010 at 3:08 PM

I’m not so sure. Their total and complete brutality might engender a like response, first from fascist-lite Europe and then maybe the States. Imagine another Hitler, only really good looking and well spoken, who only called for the sterilization of all Muslims and not their murder. In Big Government Europe it could totally happen.

I agree that Islam is the problem. Many of the kumbaya set have simply not read what’s in the koran. These mass-murdering terrorists are completely orthodox in their view of the koran. They’re simply doing what Mohammed tells them to do.

Mojave Mark on January 2, 2010 at 3:22 PM

And that’s why Muslims refused to fight for Queen Victoria…oh wait.

It depends on the woman.

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Yes, I am just so sure they were charging hills yelling “Long live the Queen!!!” Then going home and asking the little woman what she wanted them to cook her for dinner.

HalJordan on January 2, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Tune in tomorrow when Obama announces that killing CIA agents just creates more of them.

Meremortal on January 2, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Are you seriously suggesting that muslims fought for Queen Victoria because, after carefully considering her individual merit as a head of state and war leader they found her adequate?
Infidoll on January 2, 2010 at 3:19 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

Who is shocked that Afghans don’t like CIA assassins in their country murdering civilians from the sky?

lodge on January 2, 2010 at 3:35 PM

A few points – who told the Taliban the CIA was right there? Um, probably the guy that walked in and exploded. Doesn’t sound like his first visit.

Why are we publicizing this? Because far from hiding the results from the Taliban (remember those guys up in the hills ringing the place, who can see what’s going on?) it does clue in the American Public, aka the last folks to usually find out what is going on with things like this.

Why do we only have so few of these guys out there? Um, well, the kind of tasks these guys do don’t call for thousands of CIA boots on the ground – they’re the ‘movers and shakers’, being supported by the thousands of CIA sensible shoes inside the beltway. Still – good field operatives are not an infinite commodity.

One last facet that turned my stomach, as I read the linked WaPo article, was something I guess I’d willfully pushed out of my brain, but the nausea welled up when I read the phrase CIA Director Leon Panetta.

Help us all.

Wind Rider on January 2, 2010 at 3:35 PM

Imbecil in Chief

It appears Barack Obama inexperience and amateurishness has just started bonfires on the bridges connecting him to the American intelligence community and delivered a huge, HUGE psychological win to Al Qaeda.
People tell me the President’s rush to acknowledge the attack on the CIA in Afghanistan and mourn the deaths openly, publicly, and via press release is a huge no no. The CIA and greater intelligence community would prefer not to have the attention put on them. Additionally, because the President took the time to draft a blanket statement focused on the CIA in general instead of individually and more privately focusing on the families of the victims, it acknowledges the CIA’s work in Afghanistan, acknowledges that the attack has an impact on the CIA, and gives the terrorists a new recruiting tool — “you too can cause America to publicly mourn the loss of their spies.”
To you and me this may not seem like a big deal. But I’m told this is hugely significant and shows just how out of touch the Obama administration is with the intelligence community. I’m told that no other President has issued such blanket statements of public mourning directed toward an attack on the CIA and thereby having the White House itself confirming an attack on our intelligence community.
Schadenfreude on January 2, 2010 at 3:03 PM

I read this last night at Redstate. Worth a repost.

conservative pilgrim on January 2, 2010 at 3:36 PM

There’s no other thing to say than to admit this is a heavy blow to operations in the Af/Pak theater and that its a startling reminder, trust not, fail not.

My sincerest condolences to the families of those lost brave Americans and my support to those injured.

Speakup on January 2, 2010 at 3:45 PM

Yes, I am just so sure they were charging hills yelling “Long live the Queen!!!” Then going home and asking the little woman what she wanted them to cook her for dinner.
HalJordan on January 2, 2010 at 3:28 PM

Nooo, for the most part they were in barracks. I guess there aren’t that many Flashman fans here?

Chris_Balsz on January 2, 2010 at 3:47 PM

This is what happens when you underestimate your enemy.

Hard for me to believe that CIA veterans in charge of the drone program on the border of Af/Pak “underestimated” the enemy.

Something stinks to high heaven here.

As a Marine embassy guard in the mid-80′s, it was my job to initially handle defector walk-ins. Without giving away trade secrets, let me say that no intelligence agent ever just sauntered into the embassy lobby to shake hands with a “supposed” defector. There were safeguards in place.

That’s why I say this bombing makes no sense. There is no way seasoned CIA officers in THIS locale are going to leave their security in the hands of a bunch of Afghans whose loyalty can be compromised. No way. A first-time “informer” would never get this close to agency personnel. He would be isolated, searched, and then interrogated.

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

According to a new thread in Headlines, the bomber was a reliable informant who had given them intelligence in the past. He was brought onto the base this time by an Afghan officer who died in the blast.

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Why were the majority(or entirety)of CIA on staff gathered in the gym at this particular time?

In the military, award ceremonies normally happened in a gym.

Was this terrorist about to be given an award by the CIA staff at the time of this attack? It sounds to me like the attacker was trusted by the CIA(certainly more plausible than attacker breaching multiple layers of security).

Did the Taliban get to him? Was the Taliban holding his family hostage with the threat of death if attacker didn’t co-operate?

This scenario is the only one that makes sense to me.

David2.0 on January 2, 2010 at 3:58 PM

According to a new thread in Headlines, the bomber was a reliable informant who had given them intelligence in the past. He was brought onto the base this time by an Afghan officer who died in the blast.

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Exactly.

You don’t get this kind of access to a CIA base without having given much in return.

David2.0 on January 2, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Awards ceremony gone wrong.

The entire CIA station aren’t going to be working out at the same damn time.

David2.0 on January 2, 2010 at 4:02 PM

See Redstate post. Obama shot his big mouth off on this, thinking he would look good praising the dead agents, when all he did was draw attention to the base:

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Was this information public before Ogabe opened his mouth? Because if it was, that’s the least of their problems.

Darth Executor on January 2, 2010 at 4:03 PM

David2.0 on January 2, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Hey, we’re still waiting for your definition of “neocon” over on the other thread. Did Soros e-mail you one yet?

Del Dolemonte on January 2, 2010 at 4:07 PM

Was this information public before Ogabe opened his mouth? Because if it was, that’s the least of their problems.

Darth Executor on January 2, 2010 at 4:03 PM

Even if it was public, in all the fuss over the Underwear Bomber and people being distracted by the holidays in general, this story might not have gotten much play other than “suicide bomber kills Americans at remote Afghan base” if Barry hadn’t made such a big deal of it.

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 4:07 PM

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.

This is what I suspected the instant I heard he wasn’t searched. I just found it too implausible that anyone would be allowed into a CIA (or any U.S.) camp without being searched unless they were already known and considered to be completely non-threatening.

BadgerHawk on January 2, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Another long term benefit to AQ is that now the US will mistrust the rest of its informants.

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Another long term benefit to AQ is that now the US will mistrust the rest of its informants.

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 4:11 PM

The mistrust between us and the Afghans isn’t anything new. I consider it one of the primary reasons things there are taking so much longer than they did in Iraq.

But yeah, this certainly doesn’t help.

BadgerHawk on January 2, 2010 at 4:16 PM

So, who is sourcing the Taliban’s intel?

The ‘open secret’ line begs the issue at hand.

CPT. Charles on January 2, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Pakstan’s ISI?

AshleyTKing on January 2, 2010 at 4:33 PM

This will not turn out well for the underwear denier in chief.
I wonder if Obama’s handlers ever get nervous. If they haven’t yet, now might be the time.

ORconservative on January 2, 2010 at 4:35 PM

This would no doubt harden Barry’s resolve to run away as fast as he can with his little tail between his legs.

bayview on January 2, 2010 at 4:43 PM

“War? What War?”

Seven Percent Solution on January 2, 2010 at 4:48 PM

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.

I was once told by an accomplished Afghan intelligence analyst that, “you can rent an Afghan, but you can’t buy him.”
- usmcwarrior

MB4 on January 2, 2010 at 4:52 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

Obama’s “Let’s be respectful friends” BS is killing people.

marklmail on January 2, 2010 at 4:56 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!

This writer spent thirty years listening to and deciphering military acronyms and idiotic jargon. The catch phrase today is “COIN” – Counterinsurgency doctrine. Our political and military leadership act like this is some sort of secret knowledge – Gnostic esoteric knowledge – that is now coming to light. That is crap. There is nothing new here.

Legendary Marine Corps hero and two time Medal of Honor recipient Major General Smedley Butler wrote of his “COIN” experience a short tome titled “War is a Racket”. It spelled out the misuse of American forces and the waste of American lives during the first three decades of the 20th Century. General Butler was an unlikely critic of the use of military force – the more reason to heed his caveats.
- usmcwarrior

MB4 on January 2, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Another long term benefit to AQ is that now the US will mistrust the rest of its informants.

Wethal on January 2, 2010 at 4:11 PM

And the informants have no reason to trust the US with Bambi’s waffling on our commitment to the region. Why bother to spy for a country that’s going to bug out next year?

PackerBronco on January 2, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Very sad day for us. I think AP’s last questions are pertinent, and not knowing the answers to them, I’m going to step away from laying immediate blame and instead frame my feelings on the overall situation.

Obama has been, and continues to be, a miserable failure in the WOT. Even his eventual troop surge came with a self-defeating time frame. At every turn his dithering, downplaying the military nature of the war, and general fecklessness has encouraged and emboldened the enemy, both on the battlefield and at home.

Obama is proving to be the greatest mistake this nation ever made, and that leads to my feeling that either we get serious about winning this war or we get out and save the lives of our brave people, who deserve better leadership than this.

God have mercy.

paul1149 on January 2, 2010 at 5:13 PM

MB4 on January 2, 2010 at 4:58 PM

East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.

Although it’s not entirely true. Iran was westernized until the Mad Mullahs came to power. And then there’s Turkey.

Buy Danish on January 2, 2010 at 5:18 PM

We can all speculate about what happened, what didn’t, whether the one was at fault, but let’s not forget that the people in Af/Pak are going to do what they think is best for them and theirs. Maybe we’ll find out what really happened, but to be frank this is something I don’t think we should know about for the next 25 years. These heroes should be stars on the wall in Langley. The fact that we and now our enemies even knows about this is a travesty.

FireDrake on January 2, 2010 at 5:20 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

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:

If they knew that , they got someone on the inside.

the_nile on January 2, 2010 at 5:27 PM

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