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CIA 'suicide bomber' vows revenge in new video

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Bombing suspect vows revenge
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alleged suicide bomber vowed to avenge Taliban leader in newly released video
  • Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi thought to be bomber who killed 7 CIA operatives
  • The Jordanian grew up a loner, wanted to go to medical school, mother says
  • Al-Balawi mentions Baitullah Mehsud, Taliban leader in Pakistan, killed last year

(CNN) -- The man believed to be the suicide bomber who killed seven CIA employees and contractors last month appears in a newly released video, in which he vows revenge for the killing of a Taliban leader.

The video shows Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, whom a former U.S. intelligence official identified as the suicide bomber. Al-Balawi's brother told CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson that the man in the video, who uses the alias Abu Dajana Al-Khorasani, was his sibling.

In the tape, which aired Saturday on the Arabic satellite news channel Al-Jazeera, al-Balawi says his message is for the CIA and Jordanian intelligence.

The December 30 bombing at a U.S. base in Khost, in southeastern Afghanistan, killed seven CIA operatives and a Jordanian army captain.

Al-Balawi was a Jordanian doctor whom Jordanian authorities had recruited as a counterterrorism intelligence source, a Jordanian official told CNN this week.

Jordanian and U.S. intelligence agencies apparently believed al-Balawi had been rehabilitated from his extremist views and were using him to hunt Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's No. 2 figure, a former U.S. intelligence official said.

Al-Balawi says in the video that his faith cannot be sold to bidders, an apparent message to Jordanian and U.S. officials that they had failed to win his allegiance. It puts into question how well the CIA and other intelligence agencies can penetrate al Qaeda.

Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that local officials are better at "human intelligence" than foreign agents.

"That's not to say that you can't have some real breakthroughs," Petraeus said during the interview, to be aired Sunday. "It's not to say you can't develop sources, you can't put people in there and so forth."

Al-Balawi mentions Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan who was killed in a missile strike last August.

"We will never forget the blood of our leader Baitullah Mehsud, may God have mercy on his soul," he says in Arabic, according to a CNN translation. "It will remain that we take revenge (for his death) in America and outside America. It is a trust on every person who left everything for the sake of God, whom Baitullah Mehsud supported."

Al Qaeda's commander of operations in Afghanistan, Mustafa Abu Yazid, said this week that the attack avenged Mehsud's death.

Mehsud was the leader of Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan (TTP). It was TTP that released the video, according to IntelCenter, a think tank that specializes in tracking terrorist groups.

At one point, the video shows the date of December 20, 2009. That is five days before Nigerian passenger Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab allegedly tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit, Michigan.

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The Yemen-based group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the Christmas Day plot.

It is impossible to know whether the date on the video is accurate, or whether al-Balawi was aware of AbdulMutallab's alleged plans. If al-Balawi did know about the plot, it could indicate a greater degree of communication between TTP and al Qaeda than previously thought.

In an analysis of the video, IntelCenter said there is a connection between the two groups. But IntelCenter also pointed out al-Balawi appears in the video next to TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud, and that it was TTP that released the video.

"The TTP and al Qaeda have a close relationship, and in all likelihood al Qaeda was involved at some level in the operation," IntelCenter said in an analysis of the video. "However, the release of the video with TTP Emir Hakimullah Mehsud firmly places the attack under the TTP banner."

Of the seven CIA operatives who were killed in the December 30 attack were two members of the private security firm Xe, formerly known as Blackwater. The Jordanian military officer who was killed was Army Capt. Sharif Ali bin Zeid, a cousin of Jordan's King Abdullah II.

It was one of the worst attacks ever on America's intelligence community.

CNN's Nic Robertson and Amir Ahmed contributed to this report.

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