BBC World News & Associated Press / Dawn & Chidanand Rajghatta / TNN & Jawad R Awan / The Nation – 2011-05-11 00:01:33
US ‘Not to Withdraw Named Pakistan CIA Chief’
BBC World News
WASHINGTON (May 10, 2011) — The US has said it will not withdraw the CIA station chief in Pakistan, despite his name being leaked to local media last week. But officials quoted by US media said the name published in Pakistani news outlets was spelt incorrectly.
Relations between the countries have been under severe strain since a US raid killed Osama Bin Laden last week. Last year the former head of the CIA in Islamabad had to be withdrawn after his identity was revealed in the media. [See stories below.]
On Friday, the private TV channel ARY broadcast what it claimed was the current CIA station chief’s name. The Nation, a right-wing newspaper, then reported the story on Saturday, according to the Associated Press news agency.
Some unnamed US officials are reported to have said that the latest leak was a deliberate move by the authorities in Pakistan, which they say was intended to divert attention from questions over Bin Laden’s presence in their country.
Asad Munir, a former intelligence chief with responsibility for Pakistan’s tribal areas, where a number of militants find sanctuary, said the release of the name would not necessarily put the official at risk. “Normally people in intelligence have cover names. Only if there is a photograph to identify him could it put his life in danger,” Mr Munir told AP.
Bin Laden was killed in a US raid on a compound in Abbottabad, close to Islamabad and hundreds of metres away from the prestigious Pakistan Military Academy.
There have been suspicions — strongly denied by Pakistan — that someone in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, which has a long history of contacts with militant groups, may have helped hide Bin Laden.
On Monday, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani insisted that allegations of Pakistani complicity and incompetence were “absurd”.
He said that Pakistan was “determined” to examine the failures to detect Bin Laden and stressed that the country’s relationship with the US was still strong.
Media Lift Lid on CIA Official’s Identity
Revenge: Pakistan Media Reveals Identity Of US CIA Chief In Country
Associated Press / Dawn
ISLAMABAD (May 9, 2011) — Pakistani media have reported a name they allege is that of the CIA station chief in Islamabad — the second such potential outing of a sensitive covert operative in six months, and one that comes with tensions running high over the US raid in Pakistan that killed Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.
The Associated Press has learned that the name being reported is incorrect. Nonetheless, the airing of any alleged identity of the US spy agency’s top official in this country could be pushback from Pakistanâ€™s powerful military and intelligence establishment, which was humiliated over the surprise raid on its soil, and could further sour relations between Washington and Islamabad.
On Friday, the private TV channel ARY broadcast what it said was the current station chief’s name. The Nation, a right-wing newspaper, picked up the story Saturday.
ARY’s news director, Mazhar Abbas, said the television station’s reporter gleaned the name from a source. He defended the broadcast, saying it was “based on fact,” and denounced allegations that the name was leaked to the television channel by an official with an agenda.
“The prime responsibility of the reporter is to give a story which is based on facts,” he said. “Interpretation of the story is something else.”
A spokesman for Pakistani intelligence declined to comment. The US Embassy also declined immediate comment Monday. The AP is not publishing the station chiefâ€™s name because he is undercover and his identity is classified. It was not immediately clear whether the Americans would pull him out of the country.
Asad Munir, a former intelligence chief with responsibility for Pakistan’s militant-riddled tribal areas, said very few people know the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad. But he said that releasing it would not necessarily jeopardize the station chief’s safety.
“Normally people in intelligence have cover names,” Munir said. “Only if there is a photograph to identify him could it put his life in danger.”
In December, the CIA pulled its then-station chief out of Pakistan after a name alleged to be his surfaced in public and his safety was deemed at risk. That name hit the local presses after it was mentioned by a lawyer who planned a lawsuit on behalf of victims of US drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt.
Suspicions have lingered that that outing was orchestrated by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency to avenge an American lawsuit that named its chief over the 2008 terror attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai. The Pakistani agency denied leaking the CIA operativeâ€™s name.
The raid on bin Laden’s compound was an extraordinary blow to what was already a badly faltering relationship in recent months.
Before dawn on May 2, Navy SEALS ferried in high-tech helicopters raided a house in the garrison city of Abbottabad, Pakistan, where bin Laden had been living for up to six years, killing him and at least four others. The terrorist leader’s body was quickly buried at sea. A wealth of information — ranging from computer thumb drives to videotapes — was seized from the house.
Bin Laden’s location raised suspicions that he had help from some Pakistani authorities, possibly elements of the powerful army and intelligence services. Pakistanâ€™s armed forces have historical — some say ongoing — links with Islamist militants, which they used as proxies in Afghanistan and India.
Islamabad says it was wholly unaware of the impending Navy SEAL attack on the compound, and US officials have backed up that claim. Pakistani authorities also insist they did not know bin Laden was in Abbottabad, and US officials so far have said they see no evidence that anyone in the upper echelons of Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment were complicit in hiding the terrorist leader.
But in the days since, Pakistan has lashed out at what it has called a violation of its sovereignty and warned the United States against any such future unilateral strikes on its territory. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was due to speak to parliament on the subject later Monday and expected to hit those same themes.
Ahead of his address, Gilani’s office released a brief statement in which the prime minister is quoted as saying that the Pakistan’s governmentâ€™s policies have helped maintain law and order and control terrorist activities in the country.
Survivors of the raid, including children, are in Pakistani custody. The US says it wants access to bin Ladenâ€™s three widows and any intelligence material its commandos left behind at the al-Qaida leader’s compound.
Suspicions of Pakistani collusion with militants pose an acute problem for the Obama administration because few can see any alternative but to continue engaging the Muslim-majority country. Unstable and nuclear-armed, it remains integral to the fight against al-Qaida as well as to American hopes for beginning to draw down troops in Afghanistan later this year.
CIA Station Chief Pulled from Islamabad
ISLAMABAD (December 17, 2010) — The CIA station chief was in transit Thursday after a Pakistani lawsuit earlier this month accused him by name of killing civilians in missile strikes. The Associated Press is not publishing the station chief’s name because he remains undercover and his name is classified.
WASHINGTON (December 17, 2010) — The CIA has pulled its top spy out of Pakistan after threats were made against his life, current and former US officials said, an unusual move for the US and a complication on the front lines of the fight against al-Qaida.
The CIA station chief was in transit Thursday after a Pakistani lawsuit earlier this month accused him by name of killing civilians in missile strikes. The Associated Press is not publishing the station chief’s name because he remains undercover and his name is classified.
CIA airstrikes from unmanned aircraft have successfully killed terrorist leaders but have led to accusations in Pakistan that the strikes have killed innocent people. The US does not acknowledge the missile strikes, but there have been more than 100 such attacks this year more than double the amount in 2009.
The lawsuit blew the American spy’s cover, leading to threats against him and forcing the US to call him home, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
CIA officials’ “serious concerns” for the station chief’s safety led to the decision to bring him home, a US official said. A spokeswoman for the spy agency, Jennifer Youngblood, declined to comment.
The Pakistani lawsuit also named CIA Director Leon Panetta and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
The CIA’s work is unusually difficult in Pakistan, one of the nationâ€™s most important and at times frustrating counterterrorism allies.
The station chief in Islamabad operates as a secret general in the US war against terrorism. He runs the Predator drone program targeting terrorists, handles some of the CIA’s most urgent and sensitive tips, and collaborates closely with Pakistani’s intelligence agency, one of the most important relationships in the spy world.
Almost a year ago seven CIA officers and contractors were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan. Six other agency officers were wounded in the attack, one of the deadliest in CIA history.
It’s rare for a CIA station chief to see his cover blown. In 1999, an Israeli newspaper revealed the identity of the station chief in Tel Aviv. In 2001, an Argentine newspaper printed a picture of the Buenos Aires station chief and details about him. In both instances, the station chiefs were recalled to the US.
ISI Blows Cover of CIA Man in Islamabad
Chidanand Rajghatta / TNN
WASHINGTON (December 16, 2010) — Long-time US “ally” Pakistan has broken the spy world’s unwritten compact by publicly identifying the CIA station chief in Islamabad in an act that has sent ripples through the American espionage community, including the famed agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
CIA station chiefs are typically undercover spies whose covert presence in US embassies is sometimes known to friendly host governments, but they are seldom recognized by name.
However, in a brazen blowing of cover, reportedly at the instance of a disaffected section of the Pakistani spy agency ISI, a Pakistani citizen from North Waziristan who lost family members in a US drone attack has filed a criminal complaint in an Islamabad police station against an American individual named Jonathan Banks, saying he is the CIA station chief in Islamabad who is coordinating the Drone attacks.
Davis CIA’s Acting Chief in Pakistan
LAHORE (February 21, 2011) — Raymond Allen Davis, who killed two Pakistanis last month in the provincial capital, is second-in-comm-and to Jonathan Banks, the former station chief of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Islamabad, The Nation has learnt.
Well-placed sources said that the highly-trained operative of the CIA was the second important man of the CIA in Pakistan after ex-station chief Jonathan Banks who left Pakistan after his cover was blown.
Banks left Islamabad when Karim Khan, a resident of North Waziristan, submitted an application at the Secretariat Police Station, Islamabad for a FIR against the CIA station chief for the killing of Karim’s brother and son in one of the drone attacks directed by the CIA boss in Pakistan.
The sources said that Davis could be called the deputy station chief of the CIA in Pakistan, or the acting station chief.
They said that after Banks left the federal capital, Davis assumed the charge of his office by carrying out all the tasks previously under the domain of his boss, including gathering information for drone attacks. The sources said that one of the main tasks of Davis was to keep CIA network intact in the tribal agencies as well as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Establishing their point regarding Davis, the sources said that the detained killer of Pakistanis demanded “naswar” in jail, which reflects he visited the KP frequently. He also speaks the local languages and has complete information about the cultures being practised in all the provinces.
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