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The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole who Infiltrated the CIA

Warrick, Joby

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In December 2009, a group of the CIA’s top terrorist hunters gathered at a secret base in Afghanistan to greet a rising superspy: Humam Khalil al-Balawi, a Jordanian who had 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, al-Balawi detonated a thirty-pound bomb, instantly killing seven CIA operatives and giving the agency its worst loss of life in decades.
 
Now, with breathless momentum and rare inside access, Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter Joby Warrick takes us deep inside the CIA's war against al-Qaeda for an unforgettable portrait of both Humam Khalil al-Balawi and the veteran agents whose fierce desire to avenge 9/11 led to a terrible miscalculation.

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Review:

Bob Baer Reviews The Triple Agent

Robert Baer is the author of two New York Times bestsellers: Sleeping with the Devil, about the Saudi royal family and its relationship with the United States; and See No Evil, which recounts Baer's years as a top CIA operative. See No Evil was the basis for the acclaimed film Syriana, which earned George Clooney an Oscar for his portrayal of Baer. Baer writes regularly for Time.com and has contributed to Vanity Fair, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. He is considered one of the world's foremost authorities on the Middle East.

I’ve never read a book like this, a detailed and compelling postmortem of an intelligence failure. In a driving narrative Warrick tells the story of how the CIA came to suffer its worst loss ever.

Since Khost I’ve taken more than a passing interest in how precisely the tragedy came about, how more than a dozen CIA operatives let themselves be caught in an ambush like this. Needless to say, my ex-colleagues could talk about nothing else in the months afterwards. But no one could give me the detail that explained it. Warrick’s finally done it, better than any CIA “damage assessment” could ever hope to.

The story of Khost has much wider significance than a tragic event. Warrick paints a picture of a CIA obsessed with technology – drones, iris scans, intercepts. No one at Khost spoke the local language, no one set foot out of base, and the officer in charge had no real field experience. She knew nothing about Afghanistan or Pakistan. Yet she was not only put in charge, she was handed the CIA’s first mole inside al Qaeda - and put in charge of overseeing the assassination of al Qaeda’s number two, Ayman al Zawahari.

The Triple Agent is not only the best book out there on the CIA’s hunt for al Qaeda, it’s the best book on post-9/11 CIA, bar none. Read it.

About the Author:

JOBY WARRICK covers intelligence for the Washington Post, where he has been a reporter since 1996. He is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and has appeared on CNN, Fox, and PBS.

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 202 x 130 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. In December 2009, a group of the CIA s top terrorist hunters gathered at a secret base in Afghanistan to greet a rising superspy: Humam Khalil al-Balawi, a Jordanian who had 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, al-Balawi detonated a thirty-pound bomb, instantly killing seven CIA operatives and giving the agency its worst loss of life in decades. Now, with breathless momentum and rare inside access, Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter Joby Warrick takes us deep inside the CIA s war against al-Qaeda for an unforgettable portrait of both Humam Khalil al-Balawi and the veteran agents whose fierce desire to avenge 9/11 led to a terrible miscalculation. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780307742315

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