In the Arena

The Double Agent

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It seems to me that while acres of forest have been sacrificed to detailing the Undiebomber follies, the other terrorist attack during Christmas week–the suicide bomber who took out much of a CIA station at Forward Operating Base Chapman on the Af/Pak border–was a far more significant event. Turns out he was a double agent, operating under Jordanian “control.”

This is obviously the stuff of spy novels–and there will be consequences (as the official CIA statement had it, the deaths “will be avenged”). In checking with my intelligence sources, I’ve learned that this was an operation that goes against the prevailing wisdom–that Al Qaeda has largely become a network of local franchises. This was most likely the work of the AQ central command and a complicated operation at that, involving the building of trust, the divulging of “secrets” that must have had some intelligence value or else the bomber would never have found his way into a CIA operations center without so much as a pat-down. If that proves out, it will have been the first successful operation run by the AQ central command–the Osama bin Laden headquarters–in quite some time.

There is more to be said about the implications of this operation–and about the Haqqani network, the Pakistan-based Taliban operation that had been decimated by the drone attacks launched from FOB Chapman–and I’ll be devoting my print column to it this week.