Jordan: CIA Attacker Was Pissed about Civilian Deaths

As Time admits, the story the Jordanians are telling about the CIA suicide bomber,Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawim may simply be their attempt at spin. Nevertheless, they’re saying that al-Balawi was not a double agent; rather he attacked the base because he was angry about all the civilian deaths

The Jordanians say that in December, al-Balawi requested an urgent meeting with the CIA and his Jordanian go-between, Captain Sharif Ali bin Zeid, reportedly a relation of the royal Jordanian family. To whet their appetite, al-Balawi dangled a tantalizing piece of information: he claimed to have “some information” on the whereabouts of al-Zawahiri, these sources say.

So why did al-Balawi, a seemingly trusted agent, switch sides? The Jordanian intelligence sources who spoke to TIME speculate that al-Balawi had become enraged at the Americans for killing a high number of civilians in their hunt for al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders. And al-Balawi, who felt partly responsible for these deaths because of his role in pointing out the targeted villages in which al-Qaeda militants had been hiding, may have been consumed by guilt. “It’s very possible that he decided to take revenge for the death of these Muslim civilians,” says a senior Jordanian official.
I expect these stories are going to remain very fluid for some time.
  1. brendanx says:

    Glenn Greenwald raises same subject today, citing Haaretz article which states al-B. was enraged about the Israelis’ latest punitive expedition in Gaza.

    • Leen says:

      Hell and the allegedly progressive media outlets like Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Ed did not even mention the one year anniversary of the Gaza slaughter. Silence on the Goldstone Report, Gaza Freedom March, the Viva Palestina convoy. Silence.

      Rachel has plenty of time to cover the Gay rights issue in Uganda, endless coverage of the Iranian protesters. But those marching against the occupation of Palestinian lands and the siege of Gaza. Silence

      Silence on Crooks and Liars and quite a few of the so called progressive blogs on this critical issue too.

      Viva Palestina Aid Convoy Arrives in Gaza, George Galloway Describes “Desperate” Situation

  2. Leen says:

    NYT says Jordanian bomber was triggered by Gaza

    by Philip Weiss on January 7, 201
    “He [Balawi’s brother] described Mr. Balawi as a “very good brother” and a “brilliant doctor,” saying that the family knew nothing of Mr. Balawi’s writings under a pseudonym on jihadi Web sites. He said, however, that his brother had been “changed” by last year’s three-week-long Israeli offensive in Gaza, which killed about 1,300 Palestinians.
    The brother said that Mr. Balawi was arrested by the Jordanian authorities after volunteering with medical organizations to treat wounded Palestinians in Gaza. The family is itself of Palestinian origin, from a tribe in the Beersheba region.”

  3. realitymatters says:

    wow !! the wife sure has courage !! would you ever hear an american wife say the same ???

    A Jordanian doctor-turned-suicide bomber who killed seven CIA employees at a base in Afghanistan is regarded by his family as a martyr in Islam’s holy war against the United States, his wife said Thursday.

    Bayrak denied that her husband had been recruited to work for the CIA.

    “He had so much hatred for the United States that he could not have been an agent for the CIA,” she said. “He might have used Americans and Jordan for his own interest, which he did.”;_ylt=A0wNdNllWkZLqtkA4xKs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTN2ZWtnbWtpBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAwMTA3L2V1X3R1cmtleV9jaWFfYWZnaGFuX2F0dGFjawRjY29kZQNtb3N0cG9wdWxhcgRjcG9zAzUEcG9zAzIEcHQDaG9tZV9jb2tlBHNlYwN5bl9oZWFkbGluZV9saXN0BHNsawN3aWZlb2ZjaWFib20-

    • Leen says:

      Yes many wives of soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq who are back here in the states think their mates, boyfriends are killing Iraqi’s for good reasons. Protect America, our way of life horseshit.

      I have heard military people say we have to “get rid of the cancer” by taking out these folks. I have heard a few say “we should just kill them all”

  4. nextstopchicago says:

    Interesting, and obviously you’re right to be skeptical of Jordanian motives.

    I think it’s worth clarifying terms, though you may know exactly what you mean, I’m not sure I and others will. When the Jordanians say he wasn’t a double agent, what exactly are they saying? A double agent would be someone who had convinced two opposing powers that he was working as a spy for them. They’re saying he never had any contact with the al Qaeda intelligence hierarchy? Or that he never had any contact with any al Qaeda cell at all? He was working as a doctor, I thought in al Qaeda controlled clinics. Is that wrong?

    Did he put the bomb together himself, using plans on the internet? (I’m not being sarcastic – just that if he had no entry to the jihadi network, he must have figured out quite a lot on his own.) Posts in your previous thread linked to articles saying he had been posting about his desire to martyr himself. Are we to believe that this was done with the knowledge of the Jordanian intelligence, and that he was engaged (in their mind) in infiltrating jihadis on their behalf? Or did it never happen, and those were just rumors, or posts by someone else wrongly conflated with Dr. al-Balawi?

    I’m just not sure what to make of this. I’m someone who even has trouble with the idea that Oswald worked alone, so it’s tough for me to believe that some guy figures out on his own how to rig himself with a very powerful bomb that is nonetheless undetectable under presumably more than normal scrutiny (though not real security), rigs it flawlessly, isn’t detected, and detonates himself taking out 8 people. The crotch bomber, with much help and guidance, couldn’t even manage to detonate at all.

    I mean, maybe it’s easy, and all the others who try and fail are incompetent. Working from DIY websites, I can’t even get the insulating foam around my back door properly – either it seals and doesn’t close, or it closes and doesn’t seal. This guy just figured it all out. I’m skeptical.

  5. MadDog says:

    …I expect these stories are going to remain very fluid for some time.

    Here’s some fluidity from Jeremy Scahill over at The Nation:

    Blackwater and the Khost Bombing: Is the CIA Deceiving Congress?

    A leading member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has told The Nation that she will launch an investigation into why two Blackwater contractors were among the dead in the December 30 suicide bombing at the CIA station at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan. “The Intelligence Committees and the public were led to believe that the CIA was phasing out its contracts with Blackwater and now we find out that there is this ongoing presence,” said Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky, chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, in an interview. “Is the CIA once again deceiving us about the relationship with Blackwater?”

    In December, the CIA announced that the agency had canceled its contract with Blackwater to work on the agency’s drone bombing campaign in Afghanistan and Pakistan and said Director Leon Panetta ordered a review of all existing CIA contracts with Blackwater. “At this time, Blackwater is not involved in any CIA operations other than in a security or support role,” CIA spokesman George Little said December 11.


    …While the CIA said in December that Blackwater only continues its security and support role for the CIA, NBC News reported that the Blackwater men were not doing security at the time of the blast…

      • freepatriot says:

        Sure would not be the first time the CIA did not tell congress what they are doing.

        how could the CIA inform Congress of what they are doing if the CIA has NO CLUE what the fuck it is doing ???

        7 agents for a fookin FIELD MEETING ???


  6. Jeff Kaye says:

    I’m going to repeat myself, because I believe I’m pointing out something that most accounts are glossing over. How was al-Balawi recruited to join the Jordanian intelligence. The Jordanians are now saying al-Balawi came to them. But no one denies he was imprisoned for at least three days after making plans to help Palestinians wounded in the Israeli attack on Gaza.

    Now, as I noted the other day, via HRW report, you have a 2 in 3 chance of being tortured by the Jordanians if you are arrested for anything political. (See former comment and HRW report.)

    Torture is not a good way to create an agent, IMO. But the Jordanians (and other intelligence services) have had some success with it, and they thought they had done so again. If not torture, how does anyone explain how quickly al-Balawi decided to suddenly work for the Jordanians? NYT:

    The brother said that Mr. Balawi was arrested by the Jordanian authorities after volunteering with medical organizations to treat wounded Palestinians in Gaza. The family is itself of Palestinian origin, from a tribe in the Beersheba region.

    He voiced no criticism of his brother’s actions, instead blaming unnamed people who he felt had pushed him to act. He said Mr. Balawi had felt under “huge pressure” after his arrest,

    I think Saar Zafar at the SF Examiner has the right take on this:

    According to radical websites, King Abdullah II participates in the “oppression” and “humiliation” of the Palestinians, while at the same time, he “oppresses” and “humiliates” the people of Jordan. Dr. al-Balawi was apparently pro-Palestine, anti-Israel, and anti-US. These kinds of views are not tolerated by Jordan’s King Abdullah II….

    Dr. al-Balawi was arrested and coerced in supporting Jordan’s “war against terrorism”… which some observers view as just a campaign of silencing people who believe that King Abdullah II’s alliance with the United States and Israel is wrong. The Jordanian security forces are known to have taken part in the United States’ extraordinary rendition program; they are known to arrest suspects and even torture them. Dr. al-Balawi was evidently coerced into becoming an intelligence asset for Jordan. He subsequently double crossed his Jordanian handlers, and he double crossed the CIA as well. In the eyes of Dr. al-Balawi and his ilk, the CIA has been involved in abusing and murdering innocent people all over the world — while being aided and abetted by the Jordanian intelligence service.

    The torture angle is sensitive, because the U.S. has grown quite cozy with these torturers in Jordan, and use of them in overseas non-Jordanian or Middle East operations is an escalation of their alliance. In the end, it’s far more sensitive than even the participation of Blackwater contractors, as we can see from the way the latter is discussed openly, but the torture angle re the Jordanians is not, for the most part.

    I’d also add that I have personal knowledge of the Jordanian intelligence services acting to torture and flip someone, so while that may influence how I think about this, it also means I have knowledge of how the Mukhabarat works that others commenting here don’t have.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Neither the US nor Jordan have has reasons to honestly describe what happened. Clusterfuck seems to be the minimum description, and they certainly have few reasons accurately to describe this bomber’s motivations. You and Glenn Greenwald explore some of the most obvious.

    The tragedy of these deaths (though Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen witness as many or more every day) should not distract from the policy implications. What were we trying to accomplish with these tools, why did it so demonstrably fail, and why should we continue along this path?

  8. nextstopchicago says:


    What does she need to come clean on?

    Even if Edmonds’, ahem, accusation is true, the accusation is that Schakowsky once slept with a woman who is a Turkish agent. Edmonds says she doesn’t know if Schakowsky ever did anything.

    I know Schakowsky somewhat well. I know several of her staffers quite well. I live in her district and have for years.

    If the Edmonds info is even true, I’m not clear that Schakowsky could be “blackmailed” for this. What is the blackmail — “do something for dark secret Turkish interests, or I’ll reveal that I slept with you”?

    Jan’s district is probably 20% gay, and probably 85% supportive of gay people. Her husband went to prison (for something she was uninvolved with.) If somebody tried to blackmail her that they were going to announce she had had a gay relationship (and again, I don’t accept that this actually happened, but if …), I actually think Jan would say go ahead and tell people before she’d say ‘yes, what can I do for your Turkish masters.’ I mean, if Edmonds had testified that the governor of So. Carolina was sleeping with an Argentine agent …

    Seriously, what exactly is the allegation here?

    • Leen says:

      “GIRALDI: So the investigation stopped in Washington, but continued in Chicago?

      EDMONDS: Yes, and in 2000, another representative was added to the list, Jan Schakowsky, the Democratic congresswoman from Illinois. Turkish agents started gathering information on her, and they found out that she was bisexual. So a Turkish agent struck up a relationship with her. When Jan Schakowsky’s mother died, the Turkish woman went to the funeral, hoping to exploit her vulnerability. They later were intimate in Schakowsky’s townhouse, which had been set up with recording devices and hidden cameras. They needed Schakowsky and her husband Robert Creamer to perform certain illegal operational facilitations for them in Illinois. They already had Hastert, the mayor, and several other Illinois state senators involved. I don’t know if Congresswoman Schakowsky ever was actually blackmailed or did anything for the Turkish woman.

      GIRALDI: So we have a pattern of corruption starting with government officials providing information to foreigners and helping them make contact with other Americans who had valuable information. Some of these officials, like Marc Grossman, were receiving money directly. Others were receiving business favors: Pentagon associates like Doug Feith and Richard Perle had interests in Israel and Turkey. The stolen information was being sold, and the money that was being generated was used to corrupt certain congressmen to influence policy and provide still more information—in many cases information related to nuclear technology.”


      Was she blackmailed in any way?

      VIDEO: Schakowsky Publicly Denies Affair With Turkish Agent as ‘Total Fantasy,’ ‘Totally Made Up’
      As reported exclusively by The BRAD BLOG last Tuesday, Schakowsky’s Communications Director Trevor Kincaid issued a formal statement on her behalf, following the AmCon cover story interview with Edmonds, using similar language. “A simple review of the facts would lead any responsible person to conclude that there is not a shred of truth to any aspect of this story,” Kincaid wrote, adding “not one of the events in this fantastic tale ever took place.”

      Edmonds replied in kind, offering direct questions to the Congresswoman, and a challenge to take a polygraph test in regard to the matter, if she would do the same. Today, while speaking to The BRAD BLOG, Edmonds upped the ante by challenging her to sue her for libel, if she denies the charges, but refuses to hold Congressional hearings as Edmonds also invited her to do last week…

  9. freepatriot says:

    it’s a clusterfuck

    ya can’t believe anybody involved in a clusterfuck

    one thing we do know, the CIA got played by somebody

  10. nextstopchicago says:


    You’ve got to be kidding me. Edmonds says “I don’t know if she was even blackmailed.” Schakowsky says it never happened. And then Edmonds challenges her to take a polygraph or sue her for libel.

    It’s idiotic. You’re saying the fact that she refused to wrassle with a tarbaby is evidence she’s done something wrong. There is absolutely nothing there. Why would anyone take a lie detector test about an allegation that, that, that … well, there’s no actual allegation. Edmonds said she slept with someone. Who the fuck cares?

    • Leen says:

      Was she blackmailed in any way? Simple.. Investigate

      Oh and by the way I don’t give a rat’s ass who she fucks or has an affair with. But if she is married our press should apply the same doggie standards that they do to every Republican that gets caught up in an extra marital affair. Same fucking standards

  11. Gitcheegumee says:


    Jordan’s Spy Agency: Holding Cell for the CIA – washingtonpost.comAMMAN, Jordan — Over the past seven years, an imposing building on the outskirts of this city has served as a secret holding cell for the CIA. › World › Middle East – Similar

  12. Gitcheegumee says:

    The CIA’s History of Bamboozling The Congress | The Public RecordBy Melvin A. Goodman Let me be clear about this, CIA director Leon Panetta told his troops last week, it was not CIA policy or practice to mislead Congress.…/the-cia-and-its-history-of-bamboozling-the-congress/ – Cached

  13. lurkinlil says:

    Here’s a thought that has sprung into my head:

    Do ya suppose Mr. Blackwater/Xe/hitler-wannbe might be trying to send a message that he doesn’t like being thrown under the bus? Do ya think he might have had something to do with all of this?

    Maybe my tinfoil hat needs to be adjusted a bit? Just a thought.

  14. Gitcheegumee says:

    CommentaryThe CIA’s History of Bamboozling The Congress

    By The Public Record Staff

    The Public Record

    May 22nd, 2009

    By Melvin A. Goodman

    there is a long and substantiated record of CIA deceit and dissembling to the congressional intelligence committees. Here are some highlights of that record.

    In 1973, CIA director Richard Helms deceived the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, refusing to acknowledge the role of the CIA in overthrowing the elected government in Chile. Helms falsely testified that the CIA had not passed money to the opposition movement in Chile, and a grand jury was called to see if Helms should be indicted for perjury.

    In the new Ford administration, Secretary of State Kissinger, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and White House chief of staff Cheney orchestrated phony intelligence for the Congress in order to get an endorsement for covert arms shipments to anti-government forces in Angola.

    The CIA lied to Senator Dick Clark, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who was a critic of the Agency’s illegal collaborations with the government of South Africa against Angola and Mozambique.

    In the 1980s, CIA director William Casey and his deputy, Bob Gates, consistently lied to the congressional oversight committees about their knowledge of Iran-contra. Senator Daniel Moynihan (D-NY) believed that Casey and Gates were running a disinformation campaign against the Senate intelligence committee.

    In the late 1980s, the CIA concealed from the Congress that Saddam Hussein was diverting U.S. farm credits through an Atlanta bank to pay for nuclear technology and sophisticated weapons.

    The greatest CIA disinformation campaign in the congress took place in 2002-2003, when CIA director George Tenet and his deputy, John McLaughlin, consistently lied about Iraqi training for al Qaeda members on chemical and biological weapons as well as the existence of mobile labs to manufacture such weapons.~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  15. nextstopchicago says:

    From AFP, via Yglesias (among other sources): Al Balawi’s wife says he’s not the type to have worked for us – ho hum.

    But she also says that he advised her to move out of Jordan back to Turkey in October!

    Umm, earth to Mukhabarat. Come in please.

    That agent you’ve “turned” … When he sent his wife, you remember, the author of Osama, the Che of the East, out of your reach, maybe that should have been a sign, no?

    Some say Mukhabarat is Arabic for intelligence agency. I’d say it derives from the prefix of agency “mu-” meaning “doer” and the stem “khabarat” meaning “eating of platter of shit so greedily that one chokes on it”. They really swallowed a whole plate of it from this guy. Damn. And our people? A 30-year from the aptly named alma mater of Colby College, who thought she was along for the most exciting ride of her life, learning the secrets of the craft from “experts” like the Jordanians, who were always provoking her envy over how successful their torture dungeon was.

    Good god. The crap isn’t even firm enough to pick it up with a fork, so they got out their spoons, and then tipped the bowl up to scrape in every last bit.

  16. nextstopchicago says:

    Here’s a weird thing. I was trying to figure out a little more about Balawi.

    Right now, googling al khorasani and Balawi (khorasani was part of his on-line name) you get 25,900 links.

    But you can only click through the first 40. If you click on the 5th page, or anywhere after that, you’re returned to results 1-10. Strangest thing I’ve ever seen. Has anyone seen google operate that way? Is someone trying to scrub the internet of info about Balawi before we can see it, and if so, what info?

    The first link is a news link, and it has the line “2882 related articles” immediately beneath it. Sometimes google will see thousands of links, but condense some of them when they turn out to be identical.

    But when that happens, you usually come to a final page that says “would you like to uncondense the similar links” or something like that.

    On this, if I click on page 5, I just get carried back to a page showing links 1-10 again, though the URL clearly says the number 50 in it (in the spot where the URL changes page by page.

    Feels kinda like China just right now. Very strange to me.

  17. nextstopchicago says:

    When I changed the search terms to khalil balawi (ie, his first name), I could read resuts for through page 15 (didn’t try any further).

    But I go back to al khorasani balawi, and it again returns me to results 1-10 when I click on p. 5.

    Weird. Very weird.

  18. nextstopchicago says:

    Notably, when I google without Balawi, I get links to articles about Balawi that mention him posting as al Khorasani on blogs “for seven years.”

    Very weird. I was kind of joking about scrubbing the internet before, but now I’m starting to wonder. I think I’m in over my pay grade here. I’m out.

  19. nextstopchicago says:

    Well, the ultimate source seems to be Yossi Melman in Haaretz. Hardly seems like anyone could keep that a secret. And if anyone was trying to scrub links, I can’t really think why they’d block “al khorasani balawi” but allow “al khorasani balawi seven years” to return results.

    But it is damaging to think that he’d been posting on jihadi web sites for 7 years, but then the Jordanians thought they turned him over a weekend and the Americans believed them. Strange that no one in the American media has mentioned the 7 years thing. G’night.

  20. Leen says:

    More on Al Balawin

    NOTE: the suicide bomber was a Jordanian national, Dr. Hammam Khalil Abu-Malal Al-Balawi, and not Hammam Khalil Muly Bala’awi. The suicide bomber is not a Palestinian and he is not a son of the Palestinian Bala’awi family. What was published at New York times newspapers is a falsification of the family name of Dr. Hammam, and an attempt by the jewish New York Times to deny his Jordanian nationality and to imply that he was a Palestinian.