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New York Times: CIA Bomber Was Best Al-Qaida Informant in Years


A published report in the United States says the Jordanian double agent who killed seven CIA employees and a Jordanian intelligence officer in Afghanistan last week was believed to be the "most promising informant in years" about the location of al-Qaida's top leaders.

The New York Times, quoting anonymous senior U.S. intelligence officials, says CIA agents were so hopeful about the informant's ability to penetrate al-Qaida's inner circle that they told top U.S. officials in advance about the December 30 face-to-face meeting at which the suicide blast occurred.

Intelligence officials quoted by The Times say that for several months, the militant, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, gave his Jordanian supervisor verifiable information about lower-ranking al-Qaida members.

But the officials say last week's meeting at the remote U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan's Khost province, near the Pakistani border, was the first time the informant met in-person with CIA officers.

Agency officials say they are continuing to investigate how he was able to smuggle a suicide bomb vest to that meeting, carrying out one of the deadliest attacks ever against the U.S. intelligence agency.

Both the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Afghan Taliban said the attacker was a dissatisfied Afghan National Army soldier. The Pakistani Taliban said he offered to work for militants as a double agent after the CIA recruited him to serve as an informant.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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