U.S.-Pakistan spy talks called productive
CIA Director David Petraeus
August 2nd, 2012
08:47 PM ET

U.S.-Pakistan spy talks called productive

By Pam Benson

The first meeting between the head of the Central Intelligence Agency and his new Pakistani counterpart was labeled "substantive, professional and productive" by a senior U.S. official.

CIA Director David Petraeus and Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Zahir ul-Islam met Thursday at CIA headquarters in suburban Washington in an effort to bring the contentious relationship back on track.

The U.S. knows little about Islam, who rose through the ranks of the Pakistani military before being appointed to head the ISI in March by Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

The Pakistani government has been reassessing its relationship with Washington after a number of high-profile incidents last year, particularly the U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, of which the Pakistanis had no prior knowledge, and the accidental killing of Paksitani soldiers operating along the Afghanistan border by U.S. airstrikes in November.
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Al Qaeda • Central Intelligence Agency • CIA • Haqqani • ISI • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • Petraeus • Terrorism
Pakistan: Let us hit drone targets
July 24th, 2012
10:46 AM ET

Pakistan: Let us hit drone targets

By Nasir Habib, reporting from Islamabad

The new chief of Pakistan's spy agency will urge the United States to end drone strikes on Pakistani soil and identify targets that the country's security forces can then attack, a senior intelligence official said.

Lt. Gen. Zahirul Islam will deliver the message during a meeting with the head of the CIA on August 2, said the Pakistani intelligence official, who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

"You (the U.S.) develop a target and let us hit it," Islam will tell CIA Director David Petraeus, the official said. "It would be ideal if the U.S. provides drone technology to Pakistan."

Islam's call will continue an ongoing refrain from Pakistan about the CIA's controversial drone program. Pakistani officials and lawmakers have demanded an immediate end to the drone strikes, saying they have led to civilian deaths. FULL POST

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Filed under: CIA • drones • Intelligence • ISI • Pakistan • Petraeus
Enemy to U.S. troops but not on the terror list
Weapons seized from a Haqqani network camp in Afghanistan
July 11th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Enemy to U.S. troops but not on the terror list

By Jamie Crawford

Responsible for the deaths of American and NATO troops, and multiple attacks on embassies and other infrastructure in Afghanistan, the Haqqani network would seem to fit the bill as a foreign terrorist organization.

For some, that designation is a long overdue.

"Republicans and Democrats in both houses of Congress agree that the Haqqani Network is a violent terrorist organization and grave threat to our security," Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan said in a statement last month when he introduced a bill that would call on the Obama administration to designate the group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

"The Haqqanis are responsible for killing hundreds of our troops, and their indiscriminate attacks have also murdered countless innocent Afghan men, women, and children."

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Haqqani Network • ISI • Pakistan
U.S., Pakistan talking about changes in drone ops, official says
Predator drone armed with missiles on tarmac in Kandahar, Afghanistan
March 30th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

U.S., Pakistan talking about changes in drone ops, official says

By Pam Benson

The Obama administration is talking with the Pakistanis about possible changes in the way the U.S. conducts air strikes against terrorists in Pakistan, including providing Pakistan advance notice of attacks, modifying the targets and changing how targets are determined, according to a senior U.S. official who is involved in intelligence matters.

The official, who would not speak for attribution because of the sensitivity of the issues, said the White House is making a serious mistake by putting the options on the table for the Pakistanis to seize.

FULL POST

New spy chief for Pakistan
March 9th, 2012
01:48 PM ET

New spy chief for Pakistan

By Reza Sayah and Nasir Habib in Pakistan and Pam Benson and Adam Levine in Washington

Pakistan's prime minister named a new head of Inter-Services Intelligence, the country's most powerful spy agency and a critical element in the U.S. fight against insurgents in both Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan.

Lt. Gen. Zahir Ul-Islam, who is currently serving as an army corps commander in the region of Karachi, steps into the new post, the office of Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Friday. The current ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, is retiring March 18, Gilani's office said.

Islam was in the ISI as a two-star general before being promoted to three-star general in 2010 and being appointed to one of nine coveted corps commander posts. Each of Pakistan's corps commanders oversees a large army formation in a specific part of the country.

The appointment has been approved by the head of Pakistan's military, Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. Kayani submitted three names to the prime minister to select from for the appointment. FULL POST

Pakistani spy agency given ultimatum
February 10th, 2012
09:45 AM ET

Pakistani spy agency given ultimatum

By Reza Sayah

Pakistan's Supreme Court gave the country's secretive and powerful spy agency a midnight deadline to hand over seven detainees who were allegedly arrested without due process and injured while in its custody, a lawyer representing several of the detainees told CNN Friday.

A three-judge panel delivered the ultimatum after a lawyer representing the ISI, or Inter-Services Intelligence, failed to bring the detainees to court as earlier ordered.

"The court wants the detainees in court today and they're not accepting any excuses," said attorney Tariq Asad. "The court has said they have until midnight to produce the detainees, even if it means bringing them to court in a helicopter."

Read the rest of Reza's story here


Filed under: ISI • Pakistan
January 31st, 2012
11:10 AM ET

Pakistan still sharing intel with U.S.

By Jamie Crawford

The U.S. and Pakistan continue to share intelligence despite the "fraught" relationship, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency told a Senate committee on Tuesday.

CIA Director David Petraeus called the relationship “strained” and “fraught,” and will take more diplomacy and engagement to move forward during testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Petraues noted that the intelligence sharing between the two countries is still strong, and information between the two countries is still “going back and forth.”

The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, noted the relationship with Pakistan is a "challenging relationship but an important one," saying the interests of the two countries are "not always congruent."

Pakistan and the U.S. are at a stand still in relations. After a firefight at a border post killed two dozen Pakistani troops, cooperation has been frozen.  The U.S. only recently restarted drone strikes but key border crossings for moving NATO supplies into Afghanistan remain shut by the Pakistanis.

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Filed under: CIA • Clapper • ISI • Military • ODNI • Pakistan • Petraeus • Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Pakistani doctor's fate is still undecided
Compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was killed.
January 30th, 2012
06:37 AM ET

Pakistani doctor's fate is still undecided

By Nasir Habib reporting from Islamabad

Pakistan has not yet decided on whether or not to try a Pakistani doctor for high treason for assisting the U.S. in gathering intelligence ahead of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in May 2011 that resulted in his death, a senior Pakistani gov’t official tells CNN.

Dr. Shakeel Afridi helped the CIA use a vaccination campaign to collect DNA samples from residents of bin Laden's compound to verify the terror leader's presence there. Pakistan, which expressed its anger over the raid without consulting Pakistani authorities, has held Afridi in custody since May of 2011.

FULL POST


Filed under: Al Qaeda • Central Intelligence Agency • Intelligence • ISI • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • Panetta • Terrorism
Book Review: Getting a look inside 'Intel Wars'
January 21st, 2012
09:48 AM ET

Book Review: Getting a look inside 'Intel Wars'

by Suzanne Kelly

If the devil is in the details, then Matthew M. Aid, author of “Intel Wars: The Secret History of the Fight Against Terrorism,” has written a devilish book indeed.

Widely praised for his previous look at the history of the National Security Agency, this time Aid is divulging details about the current intelligence efforts around the world.

"Someone showed me the principle national security objectives for 2012," he says over lunch in a Georgetown cafe. "It’s a list of all of the top targets for this year, and virtually every country in the world is on it."

It's an indicator of just how important intelligence relationships with other countries are if the United States is to be able to carry out its intelligence goals - all the more cause for concern as Aid carefully lays out the underlying reasons why many of those relationships are ineffective, or strained, at best.

He describes the troubled relationship with Afghanistan, saying that the Afghans, many in positions of power, have little, if any interest in advancing the U.S. intelligence effort there.

"When I was in Kabul, the former head of the Afghan Intelligence Service, told me that a new station chief had just come in," Aid recalls. "I said, 'How do I get in touch with the new CIA station chief?' And he reached into his rolodex and wrote down his home address, office address, phone number and said, ‘Tell him I said hello.’"

It takes a few moments for Aid to contain his laughter as he recounts the story. The identity and home address of a station chief in a foreign country is supposed to be a closely held secret. But then Aid sobers up when he talks about the prevalence of such attitudes in some of the world's most volatile regions. "It tells you that with the Afghan Intelligence organization, the perception is like 'we'll never be able to trust these people.'” FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • Al Qaeda • Central Intelligence Agency • CIA • drones • Intelligence • Iraq • ISI • Israel • Jordan • Lebanon • Libya • Middle East • Pakistan • Saudi Arabia • Syria • Terrorism
Why Pakistan's military won't take over
January 17th, 2012
10:33 AM ET

Why Pakistan's military won't take over

By Reza Sayah reporting from Islamabad

Pakistan is facing its most serious political crisis in years, with rapidly escalating conflicts between the civilian government, the military and the judiciary, against the backdrop of a faltering economy, widespread poverty, corruption and the bloody war with Islamist militant groups.

The country was founded in 1947 as a democracy, but in times of crisis the army - Pakistan's most powerful institution - has overthrown the civilian government on the grounds that the leadership had been unfit and corrupt.

Rumors of another coup have been swirling around the current crisis - but analysts say a military takeover is highly unlikely this time around.

Read Reza's reasoning here.  Tell us what you think in our "Comment" section.

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Filed under: ISI • Pakistan
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