This 1997 photo released Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010, by Keith Country Day School shows Elizabeth Hanson. Hanson is one of the seven CIA employees killed in a suicide bombing at a remote base near the Pakistan–Afghanistan border. Hanson, 30, along with the other CIA employees died Dec. 30 in Khost after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device. (AP Photo/Keith Country Day School)
The CIA was cautioned last year that a self-proclaimed al-Qaeda turncoat might be luring the agency into an ambush, a warning that came weeks before the man killed seven agency operatives in a suicide attack in Afghanistan, an internal investigation has found.
The warning from a Jordanian intelligence officer was never passed along, one of a chain of lapses that ultimately allowed a double agent to penetrate the base, CIA Director Leon Panetta said Tuesday. Panetta provided an overview of the agency’s still-classified report, which he said points to multiple failures but stops short of recommending disciplinary measures against any individuals.
Standard procedures used in dealing with informants – including proper vetting and security precautions – were relaxed amid an eagerness by CIA officers to meet Humam al-Balawi, a Jordanian physician who promised he could deliver al-Qaeda’s No. 2 commander, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Panetta said.
“There was a systemic breakdown with regard to the kind of judgment and scrutiny that should have been applied here,” the CIA director said in reviewing the key findings with reporters at the agency’s headquarters in McLean.