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Pakistan: Military spy agency 'arrests five CIA informants'
last update: June 15, 09:43
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Washington, 15 June (AKI/DAWN) - Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence military spy agency (ISI) has arrested five CIA informants in Pakistan, including an army major, suspected of feeding information on Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to the CIA, according to a report in the New York Times.
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Pakistan’s detention of the five alleged CIA informants, including the Pakistan army major who officials said copied the license plates of cars visiting Bin Laden’s compound in the Punjab garrison town of Abbottabad in the weeks before the raid there on 2 May is the latest evidence of the fractured relationship between the United States and Pakistan.
It comes at a time when the administration of US president Barack Obama is seeking Pakistan’s support in brokering an endgame in the war in neighboring Afghanistan.
At a closed briefing last week, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee asked Michael J. Morell, the deputy CIA director, to rate Pakistan’s cooperation with the United States on counter-terrorism operations, on a scale of one to ten.
“Three,” Morell replied, according to officials familiar with the exchange.
Officials cautioned that Morell’s comments about Pakistani support was a snapshot of the current relationship, and did not represent the administration’s overall assessment.
“We have a strong relationship with our Pakistani counterparts and work through issues when they arise,” said Marie E. Harf, a CIA spokeswoman.
“Director Panetta had productive meetings last week in Islamabad. It’s a crucial partnership, and we will continue to work together in the fight against Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups who threaten our country and theirs.”
American officials said that the CIA director, Leon E. Panetta, raised the issue of the arrested informants when he travelled to Islamabad last week to meet Pakistani military and intelligence officers.
Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, said in a brief telephone interview that the CIA and the Pakistani spy agency “are working out mutually agreeable terms for their cooperation in fighting the menace of terrorism. It is not appropriate for us to get into the details at this stage.”