Tue, Jan 05, 2010 - Page 7 News List

Eighth casualty in attack on CIA was from Jordan


The eighth man killed in a suicide bomb attack on a secret CIA base in Afghanistan last week was a captain in the Jordanian spy service known as the General Intelligence Department (GID), the Washington Post reported late on Sunday.

The official Jordanian news agency Petra identified the man as Ali bin Zeid, saying that he was killed “on Wednesday evening as a martyr while performing the sacred duty of the Jordanian forces in Afghanistan.”

The agency provided no further details about his death in the bombing that also claimed the lives of seven US intelligence operatives.

But the US newspaper said it provided a “rare window into a partnership” between the US and Jordanian intelligence service, in which Jordan is playing an increasingly vital role in the fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Jordanians are particularly prized for their skill in both interrogating captives and cultivating informants, owing to an unrivaled “expertise with radicalized militant groups and Shia/Sunni culture,” Jamie Smith, a former CIA officer who worked in the border region in the years immediately after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, is quoted by the Post as saying.

“They know the bad guy’s ... culture, his associates, and more about the network to which he belongs,” he said.

Current and former US intelligence officials said the special relationship with Jordan dates back at least three decades and has recently progressed to the point that the CIA liaison officer in Amman enjoys full, unescorted access to GID headquarters, according to the report.

The close ties helped disrupt several known terrorist plots, including the thwarted 2000 “millennium” conspiracy to attack tourists at hotels and other sites, the paper pointed out.

Jordanians also provided US officials with communications intercepts in summer 2001 that warned of terrorist plans to carry out a major attack on the US, the Post said.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Jordan agreed to create a bilateral operations center with the CIA and helped in interrogations of non-Jordanian suspects captured by the CIA and transferred to Jordan in now-famous “rendition” flights, the paper noted.

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