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By David A. Clarke Jr.
Blame Washington's intelligence failure, not lack of police
Topic - Joby Warrick
Overcoming the "insider" threat is one of the most bedeviling challenges in counterterrorism. This is especially the case when, in the attempt to penetrate an adversary terrorist organization, a decision has to be made about who will be deployed as a double agent.
"The Triple Agent" (Doubleday), by Joby Warrick: When I first learned the title of a new book that details a botched CIA operation in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of seven agency employees, I worried that the author hadn't done his homework. Called "The Triple Agent," the term is the stuff of fiction in the world of professional counterintelligence officers, and the terrorist at the center of this book was a double agent. He was being jointly run by Jordanian intelligence and the CIA when al-Qaida flipped him.
In a touching epilogue, Mr. Warrick quotes former CIA Director Leon Panetta's words following the brilliantly successful killing of Osama bin Laden last May: "Our heroes at Khost are with us, in memory and spirit, at this joyful moment."
Mr. Warrick also claims - although this cannot be verified independently - that the Mukhabarat also was behind the killing by a remote-control bomb in Peshawar, Pakistan, in late November 1989 of Abdullah Azzam, an extremist Palestinian cleric who had been one of Osama bin Laden's mentors but had later clashed with him.