Former agent reveals aspects of CIA’s bin Laden hunt
September 10, 2009 1 Comment
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Arthur “Art” Keller, a retired CIA agent who spent several years looking for Osama bin Laden in the Afghan-Pakistani border areas has given a rare interview to The London Times. Until his recent retirement, Keller participated in the 50- to 100-strong covert CIA force in the region, whose primary task since 9/11 has been to capture or kill senior al-Qaeda commanders. He told the paper that the failure to find bin Laden has led the agency to start bringing back retired members of “The Cadre”, a close-knit group of Pashto- and Dari-speaking CIA agents, who spent many years in Afghanistan in the 1980s, during America’s proxy war with the Soviet Union. Most of these re-enlisted agents are currently in Islamabad, Pakistan, which is the nerve center of the CIA’s operations in the region, said Keller. He also told the Times that the hunt for bin Laden is directed and controlled by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s most powerful intelligence agency, and that CIA agents are “rarely allowed to leave safe houses [or] compound[s] by the Pakistanis”, who appear to control all human intelligence (HUMINT) activity. As a result, the CIA’s function in the hunt for bin Laden has so far been done “entirely from in front of a computer inside the base”, said Keller.