May 8, 2011 9:39 PM
CIA station chief in Islamabad Outted
Posted by Joshua Norman
The relationship between the CIA and Pakistani officials was bad before the CIA-coordinated raid that got Osama bin Laden revealed he had been hiding in plain sight there for nearly 6 years.
On Sunday, it managed to get worse as local media reported what they claimed to be the name of the current CIA station chief in Islamabad, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The anonymity of CIA operatives, especially station chiefs, is crucial to their duties abroad. Additionally, the job of CIA station chief in Islamabad is vital to U.S. intelligence, as it currently conducts a massive anti-terrorist operation focused on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. Yet this is not the first time the CIA station chief in Pakistan has been outted by locals, as a lawsuit this past December outted the last Islamabad station chief and he was forced to leave the country, the Journal reports.
In January, a CIA contractor, Raymond Davis, was held after being accused of killing two men there, and allegedly only released upon the payment of "blood money" to the victims' families. Then in early April, Pakistan threatened new restrictions on the CIA amid its accelerated use of targeted drone strikes within its borders.
GlobalPost has reported that the Pakistani army had "full knowledge" of the U.S. Navy SEAL operation to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, but both U.S. and Pakistani officials have thus far denied it. According to a GlobalPost report, Pakistan's government has been hiding its involvement in the raid to avoid a public backlash.
Regardless of the truth, the fallout threatens to spread over the widening rift between Pakistan and the U.S. that seems to revolve around the CIA's work there.
Congress has already threatened to cut off the nearly $1.3 billion it gives in annual aid to the Pakistani government. Intelligence officials want access to the bin Laden wives currently in Pakistani custody, but so far the government there has refused the request.
Additionally, within Pakistan, there have already been calls for President Asif Ali Zardari and intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha to resign because of the embarrassment of the bin Laden affair.
There has been no confirmation that it was the Pakistani government who was responsible for outting the CIA station chief this time, but regardless the act will probably do little to heal strained relations between the two sides.