The Spy Who Came into the Heat

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by SHASH2K2, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    WASHINGTON: 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.

    According to Karim Khan, a resident of Mir Ali Tehsil of North Waziristan, he lost his brother, Asif Iqbal, a teacher in a secondary school, his son Zahinullah Khan, and Khaliq Dar, a mason, in a drone attack on December 31, 2009. Khan, the Pakistani paper Daily Times reported, alleged that Banks, who was residing at the US embassy in the Diplomatic Enclave, and has a business visa, was the CIA chief in Pakistan and controlled the drone attacks through Global Positioning System.

    The US administration -- much less the CIA -- does not acknowledge the existence of "Station Chiefs," a term that is still current, unlike its Cold War counterpart, the "KGB Resident." But their continuation is common knowledge in intelligence circles, although they often function undercover, sometimes not even using their real names.

    While some station chiefs are seldom seen, others are more public. For instance, the CIA Station Chief in Kabul is often referred to by his nickname "Spider," and is often in the company of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, functioning both as his bodyguard and his confidante. Milt Bearden, the most famous CIA Station Chief in Islamabad during the US-backed Afghan war on the Soviet Union, was named only after the conflict ended.

    But the purported falling out between Washington and Islamabad at the height of the war on terror has had its fall-out in the spy world.

    According to reports in the Pakistani media, police advised Khan to get an order from the court for the registration of an FIR. When he did that, the Secretariat police station in Islamabad, after getting advice from the legal branch, registered a report against Banks.

    How Khan came to know Banks' name and cover is unclear, but the suspicion centers on disaffected elements in the Pakistani intelligence community. Following the FIR, the Pakistani litigant appealed to the authorities "not to let Banks escape from Pakistan," and said "he should be arrested and executed in this country." He also sought a $ 500 million compensation.

    The incident comes months after a section of the Pakistani media started publishing photographs and addresses of houses rented by American diplomats in Pakistan, causing immense consternation in Washington at a time US is clearly in the crosshairs of terrorists, as much as the latter are in the sights of predator attacks. Earlier this week, CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell flew to Islamabad to raise this issue, among others, with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who has been exposed in Wikileaks cables as privately supporting drone attacks while publicly criticizing them.

    The sense in Washington is the government in Islamabad is increasingly losing control of the ISI, even as it is running rings around the United States. Over the past year, the Pakistani officials have repeatedly harassed U.S diplomats, and in many cases denied or delayed visas for new postings and extensions for serving diplomats, in order to "punish" Washington for getting close to India, a tactic that has been recorded by US officials in cables to the State Department. Outing the CIA Station Chief appears to be another dangerous gambit, the latest from Pakistan.

    Read more: The Spy Who Came into the Heat - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...he-Heat/articleshow/7106865.cms#ixzz18CGwIgc0
     
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  3. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's top spy agency, ISI, denied speculation on Saturday that it helped unmask the CIA's station chief in Islamabad in retaliation for a New York City lawsuit linking Pakistan's intelligence chief to the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.

    The CIA ordered its station chief out of Pakistan because his life was threatened after a Pakistani lawsuit revealed his name. His recall comes at a delicate time, as the White House presses Islamabad to rid its lawless tribal regions of safe havens for militants fighting in Afghanistan, where the US is grappling with an exit strategy.

    The station chief's name was revealed by a Pakistani man threatening to sue the CIA over the deaths of his son and brother in a 2009 US missile strike. The attorney involved with the legal complaint said he learned the name from Pakistani journalists. Pakistan's spy agencies have kept ties to a number of Pakistani journalists as a way to influence coverage.

    Questions have arisen as to whether a civil lawsuit filed last month in Brooklyn in connection with the 2008 Mumbai attacks may have raised tensions with Pakistan and spurred it to retaliate. The lawsuit lists Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as a defendant and accuses the ISI of nurturing terrorists involved in the Mumbai attacks, which left 166 people dead.

    A Pakistani intelligence official dismissed any claims of ISI involvement in exposing the CIA official as ``a slur.'' He declined to offer any comment on the Brooklyn lawsuit and said it was entirely possible Pakistani journalists simply figured out the station chief's identity on their own.

    Such ``unfounded stories can create differences between the two organizations,'' the Pakistani intelligence official warned.

    He also said the CIA has not directly accused the ISI of any wrongdoing in the matter. Like other intelligence officials, he requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of his work and because he is not authorized to speak to media on the record.

    The Associated Press learned about the station chief's removal on Thursday but held the story until he was out of the region.

    The CIA's work is unusually difficult in Pakistan, an important but at times capricious counterterrorism ally.

    The station chief in Islamabad operates as a virtual military commander in the US war against al-Qaida and other militant groups hidden along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The chief runs the Predator drone program targeting terrorists and handles some of the CIA's most urgent and sensitive tips.

    The station chief also collaborates closely with Pakistani intelligence. The alliance has led to strikes on key militant leaders but has also been marred by spats between the two agencies. During the first term of President George W. Bush's administration, Pakistan almost expelled a previous CIA station chief in a dispute about intelligence sharing.


    Read more: Pakistani spy agency denies it unmasked CIA chief - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...A-chief/articleshow/7122595.cms#ixzz18S4BE6dh
     

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