Tuesday, 2 September 2014
The Triple Agent: The Al-Qaeda Mole Who Infiltrated the CIA, by Toby Warrick
This isn't a novel, but it may as well be. As any aspiring writer will know, often fact is stranger than fiction, and often you really couldn't make this shit up!
The book follows the CIA's pursuit of Humam Khalil al-Balawi, a Jordanian man who they believed had been coerced by the Jordanian secret services into infiltrating al-Qaeda high command.
For months he had been sending back revelatory information and appeared to be able to locate the al-Qaeda no 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri.
A bunch of CIA people arranged to meet him in one of their forward operating bases. Only he wasn't an informant but a double agent. Wearing a suicide bomb vest, he blew himself up, killing a number of talented CIA case officers.
This book is very well written and very well researched. It gives an insight into the pressures those looking for high value targets in post 9/11 Afghanistan were under, and how pressure from above inevitably led to corners being cut in the field.
In short this is a really good read.
5 out of 5.