AP sources: Suicide bomber invited on base

AP sources: Suicide bomber invited on base

POSTED: Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 3:42pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 11:07am

WASHINGTON – The suicide bomber who killed seven CIA employees and wounded six more at a remote outpost in southeastern Afghanistan had been invited onto the base and had not been searched, two former U.S. officials have told The Associated Press.

A former senior intelligence official says the man was being courted as an informant and that it was the first time he had been brought inside the camp.

The official says a senior and experienced CIA debriefer came from Kabul for the meeting, suggesting that the purpose of the meeting was to gain intelligence.

The former intelligence officials and another former official with knowledge of the attack spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The CIA would not confirm the details, and said they were still gathering evidence.

"It's far too early to draw conclusions about something that happened just yesterday," said spokesman George Little.

A separate U.S. official suggested the bomber may have set off the explosives as he was about to be searched.

The bombing was expected to deal a major psychological blow to the spy agency, if not its ability to collect valuable intelligence on Taliban and al-Qaida forces operating along Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan.

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