The banner from the posthumous videotape of Abu Dujanah al Khurasani, from a jihadist website.
In a videotape produced just before his death, an al Qaeda operative thought to have been turned by Jordanian intelligence to spy on the terror group said the CIA officers targeted and killed in a Dec. 30, 2009, suicide attack were “a gift from Allah.”
As Sahab released a posthumous videotape of Abu Dujanah al Khurasani, a longtime internet jihadi who was recruited by Jordanian intelligence to provide targeting information for the US’ covert air campaign against al Qaeda’s leaders and operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Khurasani, who is also known as Humam Khalil Muhammed Abu Mulal al Balawi, carried out the suicide attack against the CIA at Combat Outpost Chapman in Khost province. Khurasani had enticed the CIA with promises of being able to produce Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s second in command.
The videotape, produced by As Sahab, al Qaeda’s propaganda outlet, shows Khurasani being questioned by an interviewer. Khurasani explained how he was recruited by Jordanian intelligence after being arrested, and that Jordanian intelligence was provide the means to travel to Pakistan’s tribal areas. [See Threat Matrix report “Transcript of interview with Jordanian suicide bomber Khurasani” for the full transcript.]
Khurasani stated that originally his target was Abu Zaid, his Jordanian intelligence contact. Khurasani initially planned to kidnap Zaid in Peshawar, but then he and al Qaeda leaders realized that they had an opportunity to spring a bigger trap. Al Qaeda established a council specifically to exploit the opportunity to draw in what he described as “prey.”
“And this is what the Mujahideen here in the Land of Khorasan realized, and that’s why their first action was to form a mini Shura council for this operation,” Khuransani said. “Every single step taken had the goal of luring Jordanian intelligence to this land to arrest or kill them and give them a message written in blood that the Mujahideen will not fail to use the same tactics the intelligence services use.”
To continue to entice his Jordanian handler, Khurasani broke contact with him for four months, then reestablished contact, explaining that conditions were too difficult to allow him to remain in touch while producing evidence that he was meeting with senior al Qaeda leaders.
“I cut off ties for four months in order for Jordanian intelligence to stew in its own juices thinking that this guy had abandoned it, so that if he came back to them and told them that conditions were difficult, they would buy his story quickly,” Khurasani said. “I cut ties for four months, then came back to them with some videos taken with leaders of the Mujahideen, so that they would think that I was leaking videos and betraying the Mujahideen. All praise is due to Allah, the bait fell in the right spot and they went head over heels with excitement. The videos I sent were actually taken with the Mujahideen’s own camera for this very purpose.”
Khurasani’s leads, which included false targeting information for the US strikes, ultimately led CIA officials from Kabul to Khost.
“But the amazing thing is that Abu Zaid was able to convince an entire CIA team responsible for spy drones to come to Golamkhan [the base in Khost],” he said. “So glory be to Allah: we planned for something but got a bigger gift, a gift from Allah.”
Khurasani spoke with contempt for Jordanian intelligence, which he described as “hired dogs” of the US. He repeatedly described his Jordanian handlers as “imbeciles,” “idiots,” and “corrupt.” He urge jihadists to kill intelligence officials, and even drivers and cooks working for the agency, in any way possible. He called on Jordanian jihadists to “[mobilize] to the land of Jihad [the Afghanistan-Pakistani border region] to learn the arts of war and train in them, then return to Jordan and begin operations.”
Khurasani also claimed that Jordanian intelligence was behind the assassination of three top leaders in Jihad: Abdullah Azzam, Osama bin Laden’s mentor and co-founder of al Qaeda, in 1989; Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, in 2006; and Imad Mugniyah, the military commander of Hezbollah, in 2008.
As Sahab had previously released a videotape of Khurasani just before his death. He was shown in a short clip seated with Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.
Mustafa Abu Yazid, al Qaeda’s leader in Afghanistan, released a tape praising Khurasani after his death and said the attack was carried out to avenge the deaths of Saleh al Somali, al Qaeda’s former external operations chief; Baitullah Mehsud, the former leader of the Pakistani Taliban, and Abdullah Said al Libi, the leader of al Qaeda’s military wing, the Lashkar al Zil.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.