The double agent was brought onto the CIA base in Afghanistan without first being given a polygraph test, one of the basic tools in establishing a spy's trustworthiness.
He had provided bona fide information, including the location of al Qaeda leaders killed by CIA drone strikes, but a U.S. intelligence official says "there were still questions" about his "reliability" and the "access" he claimed to have to senior al Qaeda leaders, reports CBS News chief national security correspondent David Martin.
Yet he wasto meet with CIA officers. along with an officer from the Jordanian intelligence service, which originally recruited him as a spy after arresting him in 2007.
"What landed him in jail was his online activities," said Khaled Wassef, who monitors jihadist Web sites for CBS News in London. He has tracked the bomber's online writings. "He says that he has always dreamed of being a martyr."
He was from the same town in Jordan as the infamous Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who had also done time in a Jordanian prison. Between his background and his writings, he had the perfect cover story for infiltrating al Qaeda.
"The Jordanians have managed to get agents inside these very difficult to enter al Qaeda cells and deliver real intelligence," said journalist and novelist David Ignatius, who is the author of "Body of Lies," about the CIA and Jordanian intelligence.
Ignatius thinks the CIA let down its guard out of sheer desperation.
"One thing that's obvious is that we're so hungry for information about the location of Osama bin Laden and his number one deputy, it's clear we would just leap at any opportunity we saw to get a fix on where they were," he said.
And probably no one was hungrier than the chief of that CIA base. She was one of the agency's leading experts on al Qaeda.