The Triple Agent

The Triple Agent

The Al-Qaeda Mole Who Infiltrated the CIA

Book - 2012
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This work is a narrative account of the mysterious Jordanian who penetrated both the inner circle of al-Qaeda and the highest reaches of the CIA, with a devastating impact on the war on terror. In December 2009, a group of the CIA's top terrorist hunters gathered at a secret base in Khost, Afghanistan, to greet a rising superspy: Humam Khalil al-Balawi, a Jordanian double agent who infiltrated the upper ranks of al-Qaeda. For months, he had sent shocking revelations from inside the terrorist network and now promised to help the CIA assassinate Osama bin Laden's top deputy. Instead, as he stepped from his car, he detonated a thirty-pound bomb strapped to his chest, instantly killing seven CIA operatives, the agency's worst loss of life in decades. In this book the author, a reporter, takes us deep inside the CIA's secret war against al-Qaeda, a war that pits robotic planes and laser guided missiles against a cunning enemy intent on unleashing carnage in American cities. Flitting precariously between the two sides was Balawi, a young man with extraordinary gifts who managed to win the confidence of hardened terrorists as well as veteran spymasters. With his breathtaking accounts from inside al-Qaeda's lair, Balawi appeared poised to become America's greatest double agent in half a century, but he was not at all what he seemed. Combining the powerful momentum of Black Hawk Down with the institutional insight of Jane Mayer's The Dark Side, the author takes the readers on a harrowing journey from the slums of Amman to the inner chambers of the White House in an untold true story of miscalculation, deception, and revenge.
Publisher: New York : Vintage, c2012
Edition: 1st Vintage Books ed
ISBN: 9780307742315
Branch Call Number: 363.325092 WAR NVD
Characteristics: xv, 252 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), map ; 21 cm

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StarGladiator
Aug 26, 2015

Another book, which when read objectively and neutrally [as the commenter, smichal, must have done] further proves the abject incompetency and profligacy of the CIA [they hire stupid people on purpose, I believe]. Whether financing this al Qaeda branch, or that al Qaeda branch, or yet another al Qaeda branch, their outcomes speak for themselves. Overdue for a forensic audit!

s
smichal
May 26, 2012

This review disagrees with the overwhelmingly positive reviews here already, presumably because most readers here are very patriotic Americans who fully support their troops. I really expected to learn more about Balawi and how he turned out to be so militant.

Many chapters of this book are biographies of the CIA agents who participated in this incident, so they didn't interest me too much.

When it came to the actual story of what happened, what I learned was that Balawi was a Jordanian participant and/or moderator on a fanatic Islamist website who was urging for Western bloodshed. Then he was found out by Jordan's version of the secret service, and Jordanian agent bin Zeid seemed to give him a choice - imprisonment or participation in spying on his heroes in Afghanistan/Pakistan.

Does this make sense to anybody? CIA & Jordan paid Bilawi a lot of money to "infiltrate" Al-Qaeda. They didn't hear from him for months at a time, and when they did hear from him, it was mostly nonsense and bait to get them to believe he was on their side. I think it is very careless, dangerous and wasteful of the CIA to pay these con men, and this book barely touched on Balawi's interaction with bin Zeid.

In the end, Balawi returned to the CIA camp as a suicide bomber and easily killed several people because nobody had frisked him or anything before getting there. This book leaves me with more questions than answers.

d
Dark_Matter
Nov 14, 2011

Documentary that reads like a novel.

m
Magnifico1969
Oct 04, 2011

A book about a crazy Jordanian terrorist who was a doctor with a double life who was also blogging for his own terrorist anti-western web site. He was caught by the Jordanian secret police and supposedly turned into a double agent and dropped off in Pakistan. He teases our CIA with promises of bringing in the No.2 Al-Qaida leader and was meeting the CIA in Afganistan and blew himself up, killing 9 CIA personnel, the most in 25 years. Good insights into the workings of the CIA and the war on terror, as well as a last chapter on the hunt for and killing of Osama-bin-Laden. In one way this makes you feel safer, but in another it makes you very apprehensive, and thus afraid.

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