Gates confirms CIA deal with Pakistan on missile strikes

On November 16, 2008, intelNews cited a report in The Washington Post, which revealed that the CIA unmanned drone airstrikes and military incursions in Pakistan are part of a secret US-Pakistani high-level deal. According to the agreement, “the US government refuses to publicly acknowledge the attacks while Pakistan’s government continues to complain noisily about the politically sensitive strikes”. Last Tuesday, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates appeared to break Washington’s part of the deal, by publicly admitting that Islamabad was indeed aware of the missile strikes. Mr. Gates was asked by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) during an open-door hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, whether the CIA decisions to fire missile missiles on Pakistani territory were “conveyed to the Pakistani government”. The Defense Secretary replied “[y]es, sir”. It is unclear whether he intended to acknowledge Islamabad’s cooperation. The Pakistani government responded on Wednesday through Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Sadiq, who denied the existence of a deal on the CIA missile strikes. The US Pentagon has so far refused to comment on Secretary Gates’ admission.

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