UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:53am
The suicide bombing on a CIA base in Afghanistan last week was carried out by a Jordanian doctor who was an al-Qaida double-agent, Western intelligence officials told NBC News.
Initial reports said that the attack, which killed seven CIA officers, was carried out by a member of the Afghan National Army.
According to Western intelligence officials, the perpetrator was Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, 36, an al-Qaida sympathizer from Zarqa, which is also the hometown of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant Islamist believed responsible for several devastating attacks in Iraq.
Al-Balawi was arrested by Jordanian intelligence more than a year ago. He had moderated the main al-Qaida chat forum before his arrest and was known online as Abu Dujanah al-Khurasani.
“Abu Dujanah was an active member of jihadi forums,” said Evan Kohlmann, who tracks jihadi Web sites for NBC News. “He was actually an administrator on the now-defunct Al-Hesbah forum, previously al-Qaida's main chat forum.”
The Jordanians believed that al-Balawi had been successfully reformed and brought over to the American and Jordanian side. They set him up as an agent and sent him to Afghanistan and Pakistan to infiltrate al-Qaida.
His specific mission, according to officials, was to find and meet Ayman al Zawahiri, al-Qaida’s No. 2, also a physician.
However, a Taliban spokesman, quoted on the Al-Jazeera Web site, said al-Balawi misled Jordanian and U.S. intelligence services for a year. The spokesman, Al-Hajj Ya'qub, promised to release a video confirming his account of the Afghanistan attack.