A Tragedy Of Errors


What a shame, the CIA was warned ahead of time. Heads should roll, but no one is being punished. Since Leon Panetta can’t bring himself to mete out any discipline for seven preventable deaths, he should at least lead by example and resign.

CIA ‘was warned about bomber of Afghan base’

An internal inquiry into the attack at the Khost base on December 30, which caused the CIA’s worst loss of life in 27 years, found a string of communications breakdowns, Leon Panetta, the director of the agency, said yesterday.

Most notably it discovered that a US agent in Amman, the Jordanian capital, was given a warning by a Jordanian intelligence officer about the bomber, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi.

However, he dismissed the tip-off because he suspected the Jordanian officer was acting out of jealousy of a colleague’s close relationship with Balawi, the inquiry found.

Balawai, 36, was introduced to the US by Jordanian intelligence after pretending to be an al-Qaeda defector willing to co-operate. He supplied the Americans with information from Pakistan and eventually a meeting at the base was arranged.

After being taken inside the base, however, he detonated a suicide vest while standing among a group of CIA officers.

The CIA inquiry found there had been serious security lapses at the base, Mr Panetta said. Balawi was not screened at the perimeter, and the large group of officers gathered to greet him because he was considered a reliable source.

The Jordanian officer even warned the American that Balawi “may be trying to lure us into an ambush,” Mr Panetta said.

The report also found that Balawai had not been sufficiently vetted from the start and that agency staff at the base lacked experience of working in war zones.

. . .

Mr Panetta said that he would not fire or discipline any officials involved, including the agent in Jordan who did not pass on the warning about Balawi.

See also:
Message from the Director: Lessons from Khowst
CIA Finds Widespread Security ‘Shortcomings’ Led to Afghan Attack That Killed 7 Agents
CIA admits errors led to Afghanistan bombing
US spies failed to vet insider who bombed Afghan base
Report: Key information on CIA base bomber wasn’t relayed
CIA acknowledges “missteps” led to officers’ deaths
Bomber who killed seven at CIA base ‘was not vetted’
CIA officer failed to warn bosses before Afghan base attack
Jordan Warned CIA About Bomber Of Afghan Base – Official
CIA Releases Report on Deadly Afghanistan Bombing
CIA Didn’t Vet Double-Crossing Suicide BomberBad OPSEC

Well, hopefully the CIA has learned some valuable lessons from this incident so that nothing like it ever happens again.

/however, with Panetta in charge, I’m skeptical

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