Pakistan secretly helped CIA drone strikes (act surprised)
April 10, 2013 1 Comment
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
For many years, Pakistan’s main spy agency secretly helped the United States launch hundreds of unmanned drone strikes on Pakistani soil, while the government in Islamabad publicly denounced them as infringements on its sovereignty. The US-based McClatchy news agency said on Tuesday it had uncovered the behind-the-scenes collaboration while reviewing “copies of top-secret US intelligence reports”. In an article published on its website, the news agency said the copies of the documents in its possession covered most of the unmanned drone strikes conducted on Pakistani soil by the US Central Intelligence Agency in the years 2006 to 2008 and 2010 to 2011. The documents allegedly show that nearly every strike had been approved by the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Pakistan’s powerful spy agency run by the military. According to the McClatchy report, so close was the cooperation between the CIA and the ISI that the Pakistanis were even able to add some of their own targets to the CIA’s list of suspected militants for killing. This arrangement was arrived at during the early years of the administration of US President George W. Bush, when the bilateral cooperation between the two spy agencies reached its pinnacle. The report notes, however, that it is difficult to discern whether Pakistani civilian officials, who have been routinely denouncing the CIA unmanned drone strikes as illegal, have been aware of the full extent of the operational collusion between the ISI and the CIA. Technically, the ISI is supposed to operate under the control of Pakistan’s civilian leadership. In reality, however, the secretive intelligence agency is firmly under the control of the country’s military establishment. The latter has been running the country —sometimes surreptitiously, most times openly— ever since its independence from the United Kingdom. It is even more unclear whether the current Pakistani government of President Asif Ali Zardari of the Pakistan People’s Party has any say in the interface between the ISI and the CIA. McClatchy said that Pakistani officials vehemently denied the accuracy of the report and rejected the allegations of secret collaboration between the CIA and Pakistan’s intelligence establishment. An official from Pakistan’s embassy in Washington, DC, told the news agency that Islamabad “forcefully contested” the allegations. The White House did not respond to a request to comment on the story.