Pakistan Spies on Its Diaspora, Spreading Fear

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Yusuf, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

    Mar 24, 2009
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    WASHINGTON — F.B.I. agents hunting for Pakistani spies in the United States last year began tracking Mohammed Tasleem, an attaché in the Pakistani Consulate in New York and a clandestine operative of Pakistan’s military spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence.

    Mr. Tasleem, they discovered, had been posing as an F.B.I. agent to extract information from Pakistanis living in the United States and was issuing threats to keep them from speaking openly about Pakistan’s government. His activities were part of what government officials in Washington, along with a range of Pakistani journalists and scholars, say is a systematic ISI campaign to keep tabs on the Pakistani diaspora inside the United States.

    The F.B.I. brought Mr. Tasleem’s activities to Leon E. Panetta, then the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and last April, Mr. Panetta had a tense conversation with Pakistan’s spymaster, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

    Within days, Mr. Tasleem was spirited out of the United States — a quiet resolution typical of the spy games among the world’s powers.

    But some of the secrets of that hidden world became public last week when two Pakistani-Americans working for a charity that the F.B.I. believes is a front for Pakistan’s spy service were indicted. Only one was arrested; the other is still in Pakistan.

    The investigation exposed one part of what American officials say is a broader campaign by the Pakistani spy agency, known as the ISI, to exert influence over lawmakers, stifle public dialogue critical of Pakistan’s military and blunt the influence of India, Pakistan’s longtime adversary.

    American officials said that compared with countries like China and Russia — whose spies have long tried to steal American government and business secrets — the ISI’s operations here are less extensive and less sophisticated. And they are certainly far more limited than the C.I.A.’s activities inside Pakistan.

    Even so, officials and scholars say the ISI campaign extends to issuing both tacit and overt threats against those who speak critically about the military.

    The ISI is widely feared inside Pakistan because of these very tactics. For example, American intelligence officials believe that some ISI operatives ordered the recent killing of a Pakistani journalist, Saleem Shahzad.

    At the same time, the Pakistani spy agency remains a close ally of the C.I.A. in the hunt for operatives with Al Qaeda. It is a relationship that often complicates the ability of the United States to put pressure on Pakistan to alter its tactics.

    According to one American law enforcement official, the F.B.I. had originally hoped to arrest the two men working for the charity, the Kashmiri American Council, several times earlier this year but was told each time by the State Department or the C.I.A. that the arrests would only aggravate the frayed relations between the United States and Pakistan.

    The indictments came as the C.I.A. was trying to negotiate the release of a Pakistani doctor who was jailed by the ISI on accusations that he had helped the Americans track down Osama bin Laden before his killing.

    Washington has long been a venue for spy games between Pakistan and India as they have tried to win favor among lawmakers and White House officials. A senior official at Pakistan’s Embassy in Washington, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said it was customary for intelligence agencies to operate “outside the limelight,” adding that it was unfortunate that the ISI had become a subject of “demonization.”

    “There is nothing that the ISI does in the United States that is not part of the normal function of intelligence agencies,” the embassy official said. “The ISI has never deliberately violated an understanding with the U.S. government or deliberately violated American law.”

    Several Pakistani journalists and scholars in the United States interviewed over the past week said that they were approached regularly by Pakistani officials, some of whom openly identified themselves as ISI officials. The journalists and scholars said the officials caution them against speaking out on politically delicate subjects like the indigenous insurgency in Baluchistan or accusations of human rights abuses by Pakistani soldiers. The verbal pressure is often accompanied by veiled warnings about the welfare of family members in Pakistan, they said.
  3. Keshav Murali

    Keshav Murali Senior Member Senior Member

    Apr 14, 2013
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    The city of Humidity
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  4. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

    May 26, 2010
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    They are involve in many such activities..

    Not surprising at all..
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    What scoundrels!
  6. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Sep 28, 2011
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    North Carolina, USA
    The Communist governments of Europe did the same thing for years. So did nazis, I believe. And the CCP as well. Typical tactics of totalitarian governments.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
    Keshav Murali, Yusuf and arnabmit like this.

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