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In December 2009, a group of the CIA’s top terrorist hunters gathered at a secret base in Khost, Afghanistan, to greet a rising superspy: Humam Khalil al-Balawi, a Jordanian double-agent who infiltrated the upper ranks of al-Qaeda. For months, he had sent shocking revelations from inside the terrorist network and now promised to help the CIA assassinate Osama bin Laden’s top deputy. Instead, as he stepped from his car, he detonated a 30-pound bomb strapped to his chest, instantly killing seven CIA operatives, the agency’s worst loss of life in decades.
In The Triple Agent, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick takes us deep inside the CIA’s secret war against al-Qaeda, a war that pits robotic planes and laser-guided missiles against a cunning enemy intent on unleashing carnage in American cities. Flitting precariously between the two sides was Balawi, a young man with extraordinary gifts who managed to win the confidence of hardened terrorists as well as veteran spymasters. With his breathtaking accounts from inside al-Qaeda’s lair, Balawi appeared poised to become America’s greatest double-agent in half a century - but he was not at all what he seemed. Combining the powerful momentum of Black Hawk Down with the institutional insight of Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side, Warrick takes the readers on a harrowing journey from the slums of Amman to the inner chambers of the White House in an untold true story of miscalculation, deception, and revenge.
From the Hardcover edition
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Melissa on 08-11-11
Great modern history story
The story is well told and captures the reader. We have read the newspaper accounts of the story, but this book fleshes out the real people involved on all three sides of the story. The author pulls together the facts to show us what all three sides were looking for and the human toll it took. The narrator does a fine job. Good read overall.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
By Mitch on 08-21-11
fantastically written and narrated.
I've read and researched every book written on intelligence in the middle east and this one of the best on the topic. This is a story which everyone needs to read, to understand the sacrifices and tough decisions that our intelligence agents make everyday.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Dan on 10-23-15
Far too much editorialising not nearly enough info
Any additional comments?
Far too much dramatic licence for a book about real, recent events. We are privy to conversations at which no-one was present for example. Real time emotions of the suicide bomber and other terrorists are freely given. Extra little bits of description are thrown in whenever the author feels the need give the story a helping hand. Doesn't really shed any light on the processes that lead Balawi to become a suicide bomber, or the colossal mis calculation that lead the CIA to let him have such intimate access to a military base.