'CIA ignored counterintelligence threat posed by Al-Qaeda'

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Washington, Jan 10(ANI): The bombing of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) base in Khost, Afghanistan is being regarded as the costliest mistake in the agency's history, and critics have said that the agency wasn't paying enough attention to the counterintelligence threat posed by Al-Qaeda.

CIA veterans also cite that a series of warning signs against Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, a Jordanian doctor who killed seven agency operatives when he blew himself up at base, was ignored by the agency.

"They didn't get lucky, they got good and we got sloppy all over Afghanistan," The Washington Post quoted an agency counterterrorism veteran, as saying.

CIA sources further said that by getting a suicide bomber inside the base, the Al-Qaeda network showed that it remains a sophisticated adversary.

Criticism has narrowed on how Balawi bypassed checkpoints and was allowed onto the frontline base, which he had never visited before.

"Somebody comes and it's like a celebration that they're coming. It's good to make them feel welcome. It's good to make them feel important," another CIA veteran said.

However, CIA Director Leon Panetta has played down the criticism, saying that Balawi was about to be searched before he blew himself up.

"This was not a question of trusting a potential intelligence asset, even one who had provided information that we could verify independently. It is never that simple, and no one ignored the hazards," Panetta wrote in an article for the Washington Post.

"The individual was about to be searched by our security officers -- a distance away from other intelligence personnel -- when he set off his explosives," he added. (ANI)

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