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Jordanians: CIA Bomber Was No Double Agent

The Jordanian doctor accused of blowing himself up and killing seven CIA operatives at a U.S. camp in Afghanistan may not have been a double agent after all, according to a published report.

Anonymous Jordanian intelligence sources told TIME that Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi was not a double agent working for al Qaeda, as claimed by the U.S. government. They say the bomber had provided useful information exposing al Qaeda leaders and he only turned out of anger at the high number of civilians killed in U.S. airstrikes.

He had provided bona fide information, including the location of al Qaeda leaders killed by CIA drone strikes, but a U.S. intelligence official says "there were still questions" about his "reliability" and the "access" he claimed to have to senior al Qaeda leaders, reported CBS News chief national security correspondent David Martin.

Between his background and his writings, he had the perfect cover story for infiltrating al Qaeda.

The CIA trusted Jordan's spy agency, the General Intelligence Directorate (GID), for its ability to infiltrate agents into radical Islamists groups, TIME reported. The magazine cited an informant who provided key intelligence that led to the killing of Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi in 2006.

Meanwhile, Al-Balawi's brother told CNN that he was a good person who was suffering "huge pressures."

Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi had told his family he was headed to Turkey after returning from Gaza, where he worked as a medic, his brother said Thursday from his family's home in Amman. The brother said al-Balawi was upset about the war in Gaza. "He was a very good person," the brother said.

The bombing - the worst attack against the CIA in decades - exposed the close cooperation between Jordanian intelligence and the CIA, which has for decades helped fund and train Jordanian operatives.

Al-Balawi's brother said his father received a mysterious call the day after the bombing saying that while his son was a hero, the family would have "to deal" with the "bad news." Since the bombing, the brother said Jordanian intelligence officials had made several visits to their home.

A top al Qaeda leader Wednesday praised the Dec. 30 attack on the CIA outpost and said it was to avenge the deaths of a Pakistani Taliban leader and two al Qaeda figures.

The claim was made in a message on jihadist Internet forums. It added further confusion to which group orchestrated the suicide bombing that killed seven CIA employees and a Jordanian intelligence officer and wounded six.

Also Wednesday, al-Balawi's wife said her husband regarded the United States as an adversary.

Defne Bayrak, the Turkish wife of Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, told Turkish media by telephone she was shocked at the news that her husband blew himself up at a base in Afghanistan on Dec. 30, killing himself and the officers.

Bayrak, who lives in Istanbul, said her husband had plans to become a specialist in surgery in Turkey and doubts he was working for the CIA.

"I don't believe that he was an agent for CIA or for Jordan," she told private NTV television. "He was someone who even did not like to leave home."

Bayrak, an Arabic language translator for some Turkish media outlets, later told private CNN-Turk television that while in Jordan her husband wrote articles for Jihad Web sites, in which the United States is considered an adversary.

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