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The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole who Infiltrated the CIA

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,211 ratings  ·  166 reviews
A stunning narrative account of the mysterious Jordanian who penetrated both the inner circle of al-Qaeda and the highest reaches of the CIA, with a devastating impact on the war on terror.

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-age
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Published July 19th 2011 by Vintage
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For being an addictive read, I nearly gave this book 5 stars. Right up until marking it as 'read' I was still going to give it 5 stars. On contemplation, however, the flaws that pother during the read persisted after it and I decided to stew on my rating for a day or two.
That's when I resolved my thoughts to 4 stars.

The military non fiction genre is peppered with books that serve no clear purpose other than to either make the author a quick buck or to give them something to boast about. This bo
The book's title would have you believe that its primary focus is that of the triple agent Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, who successfully exploded a suicide vest on a CIA base in Afghanistan in 2009. The book does delve into this man's life, but the majority of the book consists of multiple portraits of many of the CIA employees and the Jordanian intelligence officer who were killed in the attack. The main reason for this backstory is to explain how exactly the CIA exposed itself to such an ...more
Elizabeth Sulzby
I found this book very intriguing. It is based on a true story but reads like fiction by Richard Clarke or David Ignatius. This book is about the triple agent mole that lead to many CIA/NOC and other US intelligence "experts" doing very un-expert things which lead to their death. This is a real event, when so many of these people came out together to meet a mole they'd never met before--KaBlooey! Many highly trained intelligence experts got stupid just long enough to get killed.

I read this just
Patrick C.
I found this book to be very informative and compelling. The quality of the reporting reminded me of Bob Woodward's accounts - informed by multiple interviews and extensive research. Here, there were some gaps that I attribute to the nature of the intelligence business. For instance, the lives and backgrounds of each of those who died in the bombing at the Khost CIA base were presented in remarkable detail - yet those who were also present, but survived, are not described at all.

Two of the main
Paul Pessolano
”The Triple Agent” by Joby Warrick, published by Doubleday.

Category – History/Military

The story of Humam Khalil al-Balawi is very convoluted and hard to believe. He is responsible for the worst loss of life in the CIA in decades.

Humam was very intelligent and came from a well to do family. He received a medical degree and was working at a United Nations medical clinic in a Palestinian refugee camp. He was married and had two daughters.

Humam also had another side of him that espoused radical Musl
My review from Lawfare:

The Triple Agent: The Al-Qaeda Mole who Infiltrated the CIA, by Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick, ranks among the very best pieces of narrative journalism I have read related to the history of America’s conflict with Al Qaeda. Like the other books in that category—George Crile’s Charlie Wilson’s War, Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower, and Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars—Warrick has pulled off a truly remarkable feat of reporting, bringing together a rich constellation of so
Book Him Danno
I have never read a book like this before, I have read so many books of fiction and Non-Fiction about the CIA but never one on the current decade. It starts off with the Bomb blasting of the Khost CIA outpost in Afghanistan. As mentioned in the book several times it was the darkest day for the CIA because so many CIA officers were killed and it could have been prevented had they taken the proper steps to protect themselves, instead of worrying about protecting an asset they had never met. The CI ...more
Fascinating and disturbing, this book left me reeling and stayed with me for many days after finishing it. It's been a long while since I've encountered a book that I couldn't put down, but I sped through this one in two days. It truly does read like an edge-of-your-seat fiction novel. It details the events that occurred during the 2009-2010 winter holiday. At that time, a headline briefly appeared about a suicide bombing that killed 9 CIA officers at a forward operating base in Afghanistan. The ...more

On February 22 of this year, United States soldiers burned Korans at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, in an effort to purge the base’s library of tools they believed jihadists were using to pass messages to one another. Then on March 11, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, a decorated soldier on his fourth tour of duty, killed sixteen civilians in southern Afghanistan. The Koran burnings brought a string of deadly protests to the streets of Afghan villag
If you’re looking for a wide, in-depth canvas of the workings of the CIA you won’t find it in The Triple Agent, but you will find a deep, narrow slice of the agency. Part of that slice will show how so many of the agency’s successes and failures are caused by the strengths and flaws (and in-fighting) of human beings.

Basically, the author, Joby Warrick tells a simple story, and yet it is riveting and emotional because the events are well researched and described and because the people who trigger
Up front disclaimer that I listened to the audiobook version. Not that it makes a huge difference in all cases but the difference may impact the experience a little.

Book really contained a lot of detail of the events leading up to and after the sad day in December, part of which makes me doubt some of the validity of some parts of the story to a minor degree. Not saying it the story was completely fabricated but some of the minor details and thoughts of the people who were involved may have been
Just a great book. Reads like a Tom Clancy novel, but has the distinction of being actual events. This story was buried somewhat by the infamous "Underwear bomber" of Christmas 2009. I distinctly remember that, but I didn't remember hearing anything about this. Some great insight into the CIA and al-Qaeda operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the famous Predator drone strikes. A sobering ending, one that left me heart-broken thinking about the families of the killed CIA agents, but a ...more
I really enjoyed this book. I already new the outcome but I still felt such a strong emotion to the men and woman who died.
I never realized until I read this book how much hatred is in the world and that war is apart of life.
This book read like a Tom Clancy novel but it's all written in fact.
My heart goes out to those families who lost loved ones that day.
Everyone should take the time to read this book. My eyes were opened and I still do not understand why Al-Qaeda hates us and longs to destro
James Pierson
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 a
I started this book and could not put it down. The first chapter was riviting and I was shocked, perplexed or saddened all the way through. Joby Warrick did an outstanding job of portraying the inside world of the CIA and the Jordanian Intelligance Service. His ability to keep you engrossed in the story line while attempting to wrap your head around the horror of the world of terrorism has you questioning the ability of the United States to remain protected amongst all of the various obstacles.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
**Contains spoilers - don't know how to review this one without them - you've been warned**

This is a really well done, fascinating account of the suicide bombing at Camp Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan in December 2009. Joby Warrick is to be commended for his thorough research and fair reporting. Reading between the lines in the notes, acknowledgement and afterword, it is clear that Mr. Warrick could not write about any American survivors due to ongoing security and secrecy concerns and/or rules p
This was very interesting, but I did not love the writing. He tried too hard to make it sound literary and could not quite pull it off. The physical descriptions of people, particularly the women involved, were excessive. I also think he took a lot of liberties in detailing what people were thinking, when that's something he really could not know.
Lauren edson-fisher
This book was an incredible inside view of the war on terrorism. Joby Warrick did a commendable job with detailed descriptions of all the work that goes into trailing, capturing and following leads against suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorist individuals and groups. I found this to be an outstanding book and would highly recommend it.
The true-life story behind one of the CIA's greatest disasters in modern history, and of the agents that were killed in action. Far more compelling than fiction, the Triple Agent also sheds more light on the CIA's drone program than I've seen elsewhere.
Matt Butler
Very sad but very interesting. My first ever read of something relatively current with regards to the Middle East. Ties in to the story of the chase for Osama, recommended to anyone who enjoyed Zero Dark Thirty or similar documentaries that have been on Tv.
Once I started this book I could not put it down. This is the true story of a seemingly benign physician who turned to radicalism but appeared to be a CIA asset. A jolting true story. Harrowing, compelling, gut-wrenching.
Provides plausible and account of how CIA let an Al Qaeda operative into its Afghan base in Khost, killing several of its top operatives; facts not reported elsewhere, told with the suspense of the best fiction.
Abdul Manan
Joby Warrick menulis kisah non-fiksi ini dengan detail yang tak kalah menarik dari novel. Sekali membaca buku ini, berat rasanya untuk meletakkannya.
Buku ini berkisah soal obsesi besar intelijen Amerika Serikat untuk memburu Osama bin Laden. Setiap celah yang bisa mengarahkan kepada petunjuk keberadaan orang nomor 1 Al-Qaeda itu, dimanfaatkan sebesar-besarnya. Sepintar-pintarnya CIA menanam agen, kali ini kena batunya. Bhalawi, agen yang dikendalikan oleh intelijen Jordania dan CIA itu ternyata
I heard an interview with Joby Warrick and this book sounded fascinating. Alas, I found the writing unreadable. Perhaps I should stick to non-journalistic writers.
This book opened my eyes to the seemingly never ending pursuit and and eventual annihilation of the Taliban from the would be suicide bombers right up to Osama Bin Laden.
This account of the assassination of 7 CIA agents by a supposed double -agent who turned out to be a triple agent, painted an intriguing insight into the world of espionage. In hindsight the double agent seemed too good to be true (which he was) and the author did show how uneasy some of the CIA felt about this agent. Intuition
Very well written and researched. I have a much better understanding about our "War on Terror".
Fascinating account... a tad over the top, but well done all the same.
For those who like these kind of books, it was well worth the read.
The book is well written - conveying the tensions, intensity, sadness, etc.
It also shows the complexity of secret intelligence work, and the dangers within.
But, it misses the larger picture, in my opinion. It is about the details, but without the in-depth view that explains why did this Humam act like that, or why did they allow him to enter unchecked - it wasn't satisfactory to believe that THE Cia would let a suicide bomber in without checking him first just not to piss him off. No stealthy
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