Mr. Allen, a former CIA officer who served for decades with the agency and helped lead the independent study, said warning signs about al-Balawi were missed both in the field and at headquarters. “There were counterintelligence deficiencies,” he said.
Mr. Allen said the agency also had lost a lot of seasoned officers over the years, which had contributed to the failures. He said the ramping up of operations after the 9/11 attacks had put a lot of young officers in the field.
Mr. Panetta said the officers on the base were anxious to see al-Balawi, having waited about 10 days for him to arrive. His Jordanian intelligence handler had recommended that the CIA officers all come out to greet al-Balawi in deference to his high value to the agency, so more than a dozen intelligence officers were waiting outside the building.
The car carrying al-Balawi entered the inner compound, with the suicide bomber sitting in the back seat. Security officers approached to search him as he prepared to get out.
But instead, the Jordanian slid to the opposite side of the seat and got out on the other side of the car — away from the security officers. He started speaking in Arabic and reaching under the robe of the traditional clothing he wore.
That’s when security guards pulled their guns, but they were too late. Al-Balawi detonated the bomb.
His last-minute move to the other side of the car probably saved some lives, the director said, because the car shielded most of the CIA employees on the other side. Of those who survived, many had severe leg injuries, because the blast traveled underneath the car.
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