CIA's Key Shadow Ally: Jordan
Afghan bombing spotlights Amman's pivotal counterterrorism role
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2010 6:58 AM CST
A view of Amman, the capital of Jordan   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – The death of a Jordanian intelligence operative alongside seven CIA agents in last week's bombing of a CIA facility in Afghanistan offered an unusually visible sign of Jordan's emerging role as a low-profile but crucial US counterterrorism ally. Since 9/11, the Middle Eastern nation's role in the fight against Islamic terrorism has quietly but steadily grown, earning praise from US intelligence—as well as criticism from human rights groups.

Jordan has long provided key intelligence, helping thwart terrorist plots in 2000 and warning in summer 2001 of a planned attack in the US. Jordanians "know the bad guy's... culture, his associates, and more [than anyone] about the network to which he belongs," a CIA veteran tells the Washington Post. Jordanians' interrogation skills, prized by the CIA, prompted accusations of torture after post-September 11 renditions. But both sides insist the partnership stay near-invisible to avoid damaging Jordan's relations with Muslim neighbors.