Joby Warrick, on ‘The Triple Agent’ from al-Qaeda who tricked the CIA
August 29, 2011
On Dec. 30, 2009, a team of the CIAâ€™s top terrorist hunters were waiting at a secret, fortified base in Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan. They were about to meet one of their most prized moles inside the al Qaeda terrorist network, a Jordanian doctor named Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, who the agents believed was their best chance to get close to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian doctor who was Osama bin Ladenâ€™s top deputy. But, as Washington Post national security reporter JOBY WARRICK recounts in his riveting new book, the double-agent proved to be The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole who Infiltrated the CIA. Al-Balawi set off a 30-pound suicide bomb that fateful day and killed himself, seven CIA employees and several other Afghani employees working with the CIA. Warrickâ€™s book explains the systemic errors that led to the worldâ€™s top spy agency suffering its worst single-day loss in its history, and the tumultuous effort to stop al-Qaeda the caused cascading errors of judgment and analysis.