On December 30, 2009,  in the Afghanistan city of Khowst, Jordanian doctor Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi entered a meeting of CIA agents for a briefing as an informant for the agency.  He detonated a suicide vest killing five CIA agents and two contractors working for the CIA. Other deaths included the Jordanian Intelligence Case Officer who vouched for Dr al-Balawi and the Afghan national in charge of external security at the base who had driven al-Balawi from the Pakistan border to Khowst.

As a sign of respect and trust, al-Balawi was not searched prior to entering the meeting.

Their names of the CIA personnel killed that day,

Jennifer Matthews, Station Chief. Mother of three.
Harold Brown, Case Officer.  Former Army Intelligence Officer.
Elizabeth Hanson, Targeting Analyst.  Joined the CIA right out of college.  With the agency for just four years.
Darren LaBonte, Case Officer. Former Ranger, small-town cop, and U.S Marshal
Scott Roberson, Station Security Chief, and a former Police officer in Atlanta Georgia
Dane Paresi, Security Contractor.  Army Master Sergeant, Green Beret
Jeremy Wise, Security contractor, former Navy SEAL.

Al Qaeda wasted no time taking credit for the attack.  They had managed to turn al-Balawi into a “Triple Agent.”  This is a term for an operative who is captured by an intelligence agency and turned into a cooperating Double-Agent, but when this agent goes back to work against his former friends switches sides again.

To say that Al-Qaeda was ruthless in exploiting al-Balawi and turning him into a suicide bomber is an understatement. In order for al-Balawi to gain the trust of the CIA, he was giving up information on lower-level Al Qaeda people who were then killed by the CIA or Jordanian Intelligence.  Al Qaeda was willing to see their own operatives die in the effort to get al-Balawi closer to higher-level people in the CIA in Afghanistan.

Still, the spy game being what it is, some in the CIA still viewed him with suspicion. As we reported in 2009,

“Those skeptics reportedly included Amman-based CIA Case Officer Darren LaBonte, who expressed his reservations about the meeting. He thought the Agency was moving too fast with al-Balawi, and that the Jordanian doctor was trying to control too many details of the planned meeting. LaBonte suspected something nefarious might be going on, according to the above press report.”