News you may have missed #513 (Pakistan edition)

  • Pakistan spy chief tells US to end drone strikes. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the outgoing director of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has reportedly told CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell that Pakistan “will be forced to respond” if the US does not stop its drone strikes in the country.
  • CIA-ISI back in business. Overall, however, the meeting between Pasha and Morell was focused on mending CIA-ISI relations, according to Pakistan’s leading newspaper The Nation.
  • Leaked cables reveal joint US-Pakistan missions. US Special Forces were embedded with Pakistani troops on intelligence-gathering missions by 2009, confidential American diplomatic cables showed, a revelation that could hurt the Pakistani military’s public image. The Pakistani government has denied the reports.

News you may have missed #462

  • CIA secrets could surface in Swiss nuclear case. A seven-year effort by the CIA to hide its relationship with the Tinners, a Swiss family who once acted as moles inside the world’s most successful atomic black market, hit a turning point on Thursday when a Swiss magistrate recommended charging the men with trafficking in technology and information for making nuclear arms.
  • Pakistan spy chief to ignore US summons. The Pakistani government has announced that hat there is “no possibility” that Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, would obey a summons requesting his appearance before a court in the United States relating to the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.
  • Australia told to prioritize spy recruitment. Carl Ungerer, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, has advised the Australian intelligence agencies to “look at ways to improve information gathering from human sources”, as they undergo a period of reform.

News you may have missed #406

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News you may have missed #306

  • Sweden jails Chinese man for spying on Uighurs. Sweden has jailed Babur Maihesuti, a.k.a. Babur Mehsut, a dual Chinese-Swedish national who was caught monitoring the political activities of Sweden’s Uighur community on behalf of Beijing. The latter has denied any connection with the alleged spy.
  • Pakistan follows US directive on ISI chief. The director of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, will remain in his post for another year, the Pakistani government has announced. Even though Pasha had a row with CIA director Leon Panetta last November, the US pressured Pakistan to keep him, as the White House has “come to believe that keeping Pasha in place will facilitate efforts to flush out Taliban safe havens from Pakistan”.
  • Dubai tells spies to…leave. Laughable publicity stunt by Dubai Police, who have asked all spies “currently present in the Gulf” to leave the region within a week. “If not, then we will cross that bridge when we come to it”, warned Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan.

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Comment: US-Pakistani Spy Relations Just Short of Open War



Officially, the United States and Pakistan are allies in the so-called “war on terrorism”. But diplomats and intelligence agents on the ground tell a very different story. For several months now, Washington and Islamabad have engaged in a low-intensity intelligence war, with the Pakistanis accusing the Americans of failing to share actionable intelligence, and the Americans blaming Pakistani security services for maintaining clandestine links with Taliban groups. On at least one occasion, a senior advisor to the US-backed Afghan leadership has claimed that Pakistani intelligence services provide assistance to suicide bombers willing to strike targets in Kabul and other cities and towns in Afghanistan.

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CIA chief has ‘confrontational’ meeting with Pakistani spymaster

Ahmed Shuja Pasha

A.S. Pasha

There is almost no coverage in the US media of CIA director Leon Panetta’s trip to Pakistan —in sharp contrast to the Pakistani and Indian press, where his visit made national headlines over the weekend. A scheduled meeting with Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was undoubtedly among Panetta’s most important engagements in Islamabad. According to Pakistani media accounts, the meeting between the two men —the second in less than two months— was confrontational and marred by serious differences between the ISI and the CIA —two agencies that rarely see eye-to-eye lately. Citing “well-placed sources”, Pakistani daily The Nation said that the ISI spymaster “expressed his disappointment” to Panetta about the CIA’s “dismal role in countering terrorism” in Pakistan and its “failure to provide concrete actionable information” to the Pakistani secret services. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0127

  • Is China using Nepal as a base to spy on India? India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) has accused Beijing of using the so-called Nepal-China study centers in Nepal to spy on India. The centers, which are located all along the Indo-Nepal border, are being used to clandestinely gather information on Indian activities, says RAW. It also rumored that RAW is monitoring around 30 Chinese firms which have set up base in Nepal and may be involved in spying on India.
  • Italian lawyers seek jail for CIA agents. Public prosecutors in Italy have urged a court in Milan to jail 26 Americans for the kidnapping of a terrorism suspect in a 2003 CIA operation on Italian soil. They also want a 13 year prison sentence for the former head of Italy’s secret service, Nicolo Pollari. Last week the US government moved for the first time to officially prevent Italian authorities from prosecuting American citizens involved in the CIA operation.
  • CIA director meets Pakistani spy chief. The director of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Ahmed Shuja Pasha, has met with CIA director Leon Panetta in Washington. Last week, Lieutenant General Pasha yelled at a US journalist for daring to utter the CIA’s allegations that the ISI is withholding crucial intelligence information on al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

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