Defne Bayrak, the Turkish wife of Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, told Turkish media by telephone she was shocked at the news that her husband blew himself up at a base in Afghanistan on Dec. 30, killing himself and the officers.
“I don’t believe that he was an agent for CIA or for Jordan,” she told private NTV television. “He was someone who even did not like to leave home.”
Bayrak, an Arabic language translator for some Turkish media outlets, later told private CNN-Turk television that while in Jordan her husband wrote articles for jihad websites, in which the United States is considered an adversary.
Jordanian intelligence was aware of these statements when they arrested al-Balawi last March, according to counterterrorism officials based in the Middle East.
Jordanian intelligence believed the devout 32-year-old doctor had been persuaded to support US efforts against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and wanted al-Balawi to help capture or kill Ayman al-Zawahri, a fellow doctor from Egypt who is Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man, according to another counterterrorism official based in the Middle East. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on matters involving the CIA and Jordan’s national security.
Bayrak confirmed that al-Balawi was jailed for three days last March and left Jordan shortly after that, saying he was going to Pakistan to become a specialist in surgery. After those plans did not work out, al-Balawi said he got another job there, Bayrak said.
But antiterrorism experts say he traveled to Afghanistan, suggesting he had agreed to take on the mission against Al Qaeda, providing valuable intelligence information about Al Qaeda leaders to US and Jordanian agents.
Bayrak and her two daughters left Jordan in October and now live in Istanbul. She last spoke to al-Balawi over a month ago, Bayrak said.
“It was a normal conversation, he talked about his plans to come to Turkey and become a specialist here,” she told NTV television. Later she told CNN-Turk television: “I was shocked when I heard the news because he constantly spoke about coming to Turkey...I was not expecting it.”