Saturday, January 16, 2010

CIA Informant/Bomber Was A "Dangle"

The Washington Post has an article this morning about the various miscalculations (and calculated risks) that led them to trust too fully the Jordanian informant who turned out to be a suicide bomber, killing seven CIA officers in Afghanistan on December 30.  You can read the entire article HERE.  It reads in part:

"Jordanian and U.S. officials have since concluded that Balawi was a committed extremist whose beliefs had deep intellectual and religious roots and who had never intended to cooperate with them. In hindsight, they said, the excitement generated by his ability to produce verifiable intelligence should have been tempered by the recognition that his penetration of al-Qaeda's top echelon was too rapid to be true. Senior CIA and GID officials were so beguiled by the prospect of a strike against al-Qaeda's inner sanctum that they discounted concerns raised by case officers in both services that Balawi might be a fraud, according to the former U.S. official and the Jordanian government official, who has an intelligence background.

"Balawi appears to have been what in espionage terms is called a 'dangle' held out by al-Qaeda. 'This is a very well-thought-out al-Qaeda operation,' said a former senior U.S. intelligence officer. 'Every dangle operation is a judgment call. It has to be significant enough so that the Jordanians and, in this case, the CIA knows it's real. . . . That's always the key in running a dangle operation: How much do you give to establish bona fides without giving up the family jewels?' "

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