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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Agent 00-Kaboom

I've read and heard a decent amount of coverage on the "double-agent" suicide bomber who killed several CIA agents and Xe employees in Afghanistan a few days ago, including an extended NPR report today that included an illuminating interview with former CIA-man Bob Baer. Multiple sources, including Baer, noted that the other side is always trying to recruit your agents to switch sides.

One oddity, however, I haven't heard addressed: isn't it damned strange for an "agent" of any sort to turn "suicide bomber"? These would seem to be two completely different universes in the world of terrorism intrigue, ones defined by vastly different motives. Agents usually flip as a result of incentives, do they not? Money, status, some personal grievance that has been overlooked by one's original patrons. That seems quite different from the ideological fanaticism that leads one to strap a bomb upon one's body, travel to a remote locale over bad roads, and then detonate oneself. Presumably then this guy was ALWAYS on team Islamofascism, but did a great job of fooling some pretty high level Jordanian and American operatives for an extended time period. Yet that seems like a level of subterfuge that goes well beyond the pay grade of the sort of human shrapnel we usually see in the suicide bomber cadre. Even the relatively educated types who pulled off 9/11 were on easier duty than that.

Now, my understanding of counter-intel could fill a thimble. But this seems like something we should be thinking about.


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