No cover: US may recall CIA station chief in Islamabad

Published: November 29, 2013

Station chief plays a key role in the drone campaign. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE

LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: 

The United States is likely to withdraw the current CIA station chief in Islamabad after his cover was blown when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) named him in a first information report registered against the recent drone strike in Hangu district.

As part of its understanding with Pakistan, the CIA station chief works undercover.

Although it was not possible to verify PTI’s claim, sources told The Express Tribune that the US is increasingly worried about the new development and is considering recalling its top spy from the country.

This is the second time a CIA station chief’s identity has been given away. Back in 2010, a human rights lawyer, who was spearheading a movement against drone strikes, had also filed a lawsuit against the then CIA station chief.

Washington, which never discloses the identity of the spy chief, had then pulled the spymaster out.

At that time, it was believed that the US move came as a result of a ‘cold war’ between the CIA and ISI.

However, a Pakistani security official insisted that the agency had nothing to do with the latest move by PTI.

“The ISI and CIA have been cooperating with each other under well-defined standard operating procedures,” added the official, who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

In Lahore, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said it was possible that the (ISI) had played a part. “The ISI may be behind the unmasking of the CIA station chief,” Sanaullah told reporters in the Punjab Assembly’s cafeteria. When asked as to how the CIA official was disclosed earlier in a petition in 2010, he replied that in both the instances it was possible that the ISI had a hand.

When contacted, the US Embassy spokesperson refused to comment on the development. The spokesperson did, however, say that the situation would become clear in a few days.

The station chief in Islamabad has a key role in the drone campaign CIA is carrying out in the tribal areas. He deals with classified information and closely collaborates with the ISI.

In a related development, a US diplomat on Thursday met with senior PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the Parliament House, apparently to discuss the party’s ongoing protest against drone strikes.

None of the two sides made any public statements about the meeting, but sources said the latest controversy over naming the CIA station chief was discussed.

The party of cricketer-turned politician, Imran Khan, has been a staunch opponent of the CIA-piloted drone campaign in the tribal areas.

The government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa (K-P), ruled by the PTI, directed police authorities to register an FIR against the CIA for its latest drone strike in the Hangu district situated in K-P.

‘Mazari knows’

Sanaullah said PTI information secretary Shireen Mazari could tell the media who had given her the name of the CIA station incharge in Islamabad. “Keeping in view Mazari’s ideology everyone can easily assess her sources,” he added.

Earlier, he said the whole nation mourns over the childish step taken by PTI to implicate CIA director who sits in Washington DC.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • tania
    Nov 29, 2013 - 10:43AM

    “he said the whole nation mourns over the childish step taken by PTI to implicate CIA director who sits in Washington DC.”

    Speak for yourself!

    Recommend

  • imran ali
    Nov 29, 2013 - 10:48AM

    this shows the link of PTI with……………

    Recommend

  • Ather
    Nov 29, 2013 - 11:12AM

    Good riddance

    Recommend

  • Babbarsher Khan
    Nov 29, 2013 - 11:35AM

    Now he could only dream of flying to the US on his fund raising drives.

    Recommend

  • Shahid
    Nov 29, 2013 - 12:58PM

    Stupidity!!!! Should the law minister give statement like this?

    Recommend

  • rizkhan
    Nov 29, 2013 - 1:12PM

    Its a shame to read some of the comments above. This is why we are the slaves.

    If you want to change your fate and future for the better, change your mindset for the positive and act like a real dignified and honorable person.

    Even India act more honorable than us.

    Recommend

  • Feroz
    Nov 29, 2013 - 1:14PM

    Yes, Pakistan is a major non NATO ally of USA.

    Recommend

  • Salman Ahmed
    Nov 29, 2013 - 1:36PM

    Just proves that this man and pmln only came into power on the back of support of the US.

    The more these guys support the US, the more they show their real face. Sad

    Recommend

  • Stealth
    Nov 29, 2013 - 3:22PM

    The first line of defense is to know your enemy. How long it will take the government to know theirs.

    Recommend

  • Stellar
    Nov 29, 2013 - 3:42PM

    This is double jeopardy or Pakistan. More drone strikes entails more retaliation by the locals, hence more Pakistanis killed. Perfect recipe for disaster.
    Why the CIA chief not kicked out earlier, this is dangerous liaison.

    Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Nov 29, 2013 - 3:59PM

    Pakistan is not the only country which has its troubles with the current USA administration,on its drone killings. The public awareness of such illegal terrorist acts do not conform to the norms of the European civilisation including the misuse of the German territory in directing the droning of Somalians.

    Rex Minor

    Recommend

  • Tony Caro
    Nov 29, 2013 - 4:28PM

    Do not blame USA for drones, blame people of KPK/FATA for breeding/sheltering/arming Talibans to carry on attacking Afghanistan. What you sow so shall you reap. If Pakistan really want Taliban’s sharia, they should replace their democratically elected government to Talibans to implement their 5th century doctrine and leave Afghanistan alone.

    Recommend

  • Sesnsible
    Nov 29, 2013 - 4:56PM

    Khuda ney aj tak us qoum ki halit nahi badli

    Na ho jis ko Khayal Aap apni Halat ke badlney ka…

    Was this country created to allow drones to make them part of collateral damage ….

    For all the War Maniac’s living in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore …i really wish their is a suspect in your neighborhood and America sends a drone and bomb them you or your family becomes the part of collateral damage ….

    Perhaps then you will be to tell Are Drones good or not ….

    Till then please carry on enjoying whisky and supporting drones strike ..

    Recommend

  • Vikram
    Nov 29, 2013 - 5:46PM

    @rizkhan: Pakistan is a pure Islamic country, better compare Pakistan with Somalia.

    Recommend

  • Vikram
    Nov 29, 2013 - 5:51PM

    @Sesnsible: “i really wish their is a suspect in your neighborhood and America sends a drone and bomb them you or your family becomes the part of collateral damage ….”

    Pakistan has bombed it is own citizens that cause lot more collateral damage in FATA, Baluchistan. According to what has been reported in news, Pakistani citizens help in drone bombings for money.

    Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Nov 29, 2013 - 8:08PM

    @Tony Caro:

    You probably meant 7th century not 5th? Besides there is no difference between the Afghan and the Taliban, though there is a difference between the Taliban and the Tajik and uzbek!

    Rex Minor

    Recommend

  • ABKhan
    Nov 29, 2013 - 9:37PM

    @Vikram:

    “Pakistan has bombed it is own citizens that cause lot more collateral damage in FATA, Baluchistan.”

    So now kill all pakistanis by drones for this reason. Man please tell me which school you went to? I am really curious

    Recommend

  • Sikander Fayyaz Bhadera
    Nov 30, 2013 - 11:33AM

    @Tony Caro:

    Funny, you would say that. Because it is common knowledge, even among children, that CIA, with ISI’s help was behind breeding/sheltering/arming Jihadis/Alqaeda to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. History also tells us that US was behind the Jihadist uprising in Afghanistan that dragged the Soviets into the Afghanistan in the first place.

    That hangover still lasts and people are still being killed after 30 odd years.

    In nut-shell, Pakistan and Afghanistan are today in this utter mess just so that US could avenge the Vietnam debacle. Our fault is that we fell prey to US’s sinister plans in return for dollars. The biggest casualty of this 30 year long war, planned and plotted by the US, has been the social fabric of Pakistan. Today, attitudes in Pakistan have been so polarized that society, overall, is moving in two opposite extreme directions, leaving the moderates in a limbo.

    Recommend

  • Waqar
    Nov 30, 2013 - 1:18PM

    @Tony Caro:
    there are 3 million Afagns in KPK, so when you’ll stop your war there, they can go back, till then, stop blamingRecommend

  • Tony Caro
    Nov 30, 2013 - 6:53PM

    Bottom line: Had Talibans not sheltered Alqaeda/OBL, USA wouldn’t have bothered as there is nothing in Afghanistan/Pakistan for mighty USA. Drones will stop if Pakistan/KPK stop sending Talibans to Afghanistan to create troubles for Afghan government ELSE USA is fully capable of destroying Pakistan at will.Recommend

  • Ahmed Ali Khan
    Dec 1, 2013 - 9:56AM

    @Tony Caro:

    Talibans are supposed to attacked the American and Nato forces who occupied their lands instead they attacked Pakistani Institution and people I dont get it why?

    Recommend

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