Monday, July 30, 2012

the last book I ever read (Man Hunt, excerpt six)

from Man Hunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden--From 9/11 to Abbottabad by Peter L. Bergen:

The Christmas Day plot made the stakes all the higher for the CIA officials who knew of the Jordanian doctor and his promises to execute the first high-level penetration of al-Qaeda since 9/11. However, no one at the CIA had met Balawi, and pressure was mounting to get some Agency eyes on him. That task fell to Jennifer Matthews, the CIA station chief in Khost, in eastern Afghanistan, who had worked for the bin Laden unit almost from its inception. Matthews arranged for the Jordanian doctor to slip over the border from Pakistan's tribal areas to meet with her and a considerable team from the CIA. Determined that this first meeting with the golden source be warm and friendly, Matthews did not have Balawi searched when he entered the CIA section of Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost on December 30, 2009. She had even arranged for a cake to be made for Balawi, whose birthday had been only five days earlier.

But there was to be no opportunity to celebrate. As he met with the CIA team, the Jordanian doctor began muttering to himself in Arabic, reached inside his coat, and then detonated a bomb that killed Matthews, a forty-five-year-old mother of three, and six other CIA officers and contractors who had gathered to meet him. It was the deadliest single day at the Agency since Hezbollah blew up the U.S. embassy in Beirut in 1983, killing eight CIA employees. The doctor from Jordan had not been spying on al-Qaeda's leaders; he had, in fact, been recruited by them.

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