CIA, ISI cooperation scaled back after Davis episode

Published: February 25, 2011
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The possible presence of more CIA contractors like Davis worries the ISI.

The possible presence of more CIA contractors like Davis worries the ISI.

ISLAMABAD: Cooperation between the American and Pakistani spy agencies has been scaled back because of an incident involving a CIA contractor shooting two Pakistanis, Pakistani intelligence officials said on Thursday.

A senior Pakistani intelligence official in Islamabad said the case of Raymond Davis had strained but not broken relations between the CIA and the Inter-Services Intelligences (ISI) because the ISI didn’t know about Davis before he shot and killed two Pakistanis on Jan 27 in Lahore.

“It’s not business as usual; it’s not open war,” the official told Reuters. “Cooperation and operations together will continue at a lesser scale.”

Another intelligence official denied rumours that the two agencies were not working together. “We are not ready to split,” he said. “There has been a patch up because we have both realised that in the larger interest of the region and the war on terrorism, CIA and ISI must work together.”

An Associated Press story, however, construes that Pakistan’s premier spy agency is ready to split with the CIA because of frustration over what it calls heavy-handed pressure and its anger over what it believes is a covert US operation involving hundreds of contract spies. The AP cites a document it has obtained as the basis of its conclusion.

The case of 36-year-old Davis, a former US special forces officer, has strained the already-uneasy alliance between the US and Pakistan, who are supposed to be united in the face of militants waging a war in Afghanistan.

The possible presence of more CIA contractors like Davis worries the ISI because they don’t know how many there are, their identities or their duties. Officials say there could be “hundreds”.

“We are concerned,” the first official told Reuters. “We don’t know how many and we have asked them (CIA) to give this information to us. But they haven’t done that yet.”

It is widely thought the CIA is running a network of spies in Pakistan for a number of reasons: identifying militant targets for a campaign of strikes by unmanned drone aircraft, gathering intelligence on militant groups and on Pakistan’s nuclear programme.

Downward spiral

Signs of strain were evident in a letter the ISI sent to the Wall Street Journal in response to an article the newspaper published on the tension between the agencies.

“It is regrettable that CIA leadership on many occasions has failed to show respect to the relationship of the two agencies and has acted with arrogance towards ISI which has resulted in weakening the relationship on which it is entirely dependent,” the ISI said, according to a copy seen by Reuters.

“Involvement of CIA with Raymond Davis is beyond any shadow of doubt. Post incident conduct of CIA has virtually put the partnership into question. Irrespective of the commonality of objectives in this war on terror, it is hard to predict if the relationship will ever reach the level at which it was prior to the Davis episode.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • RizwanTKhan
    Feb 25, 2011 - 12:02PM

    CIA is not to be trusted hence they should be thrown out of our country. A snake can NEVER be trusted.Recommend

  • American
    Feb 25, 2011 - 9:10PM

    @Rizwan…I hope you know that, in most countries, that is exactly the feeling towards Pakistan.
    At a minimum, your neighboring countries …Iran, Afghanistan, and India think you are a snake, not to be trusted.
    At least the CIA is a clandestine operation..it is designed to be a snake… Recommend

  • Fahad
    Feb 26, 2011 - 2:45AM

    @American you are not true i travel a lot and i never felt that even in America.. and for all pakistanis there are many good americans and america is a beautiful country but her govt and ppl like CIA and davis are different…. anyways we should look after our country its more important for us.. Turkey Iran China are our good friends,,,, Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Feb 26, 2011 - 9:50AM

    @ American.

    The feeling about Pakistan as quoted by you may be correct, but majority of Pakistanis believe it is because we have followed US policies considering it to be our friendly country, but snakes can never to relied upon. Raymond is example for that.

    Once we reconsider our relationship with US, we will get rid from this so called terrorism and bad repute.

    ZA Bhutto was one leader who could distinguish among friends and foes, thatswhy removed from the way, now let us see who has that much dare, but someone has to do, today or tomorrow.Recommend

  • RizwanTKhan
    Feb 26, 2011 - 10:51AM

    @ American:

    Thanks for admitting the truth about CIA. As far as considering Pakistan as a snake goes; India is our enemy so we don’t care what it thinks and what not. Regarding Iran and Afghanistan, I think its the fault on both ends. Now having that said, we know and accept that our spineless selfish immoral rulers’ personal desires and lust produced such an image of Pakistan and for this very reason, majority of people hate our rulers from their core.

    Pakistan is only affecting its neighbors whereas US is affecting the whole world. Obama openly supporting Reymond Davis (a spy which we all knew from day 1) and calling for release since he has diplomatic immunity. And threatening us every day for his release. The whole world knows the punishment of a spy is death and but this guy is not only a spy but killed 2 men. Need I say more? Recommend

  • Maria
    Feb 27, 2011 - 9:37AM

    I think that so called “American” has his origins somewhere in one of the very neighboring nations he accuses of distrusting Pakistan. This is the real behavior of a snake. I live in the US and a good number of people here know how Pakistan suffered due to the influx of foreign fighters and arms while involved in defeating the Soviets. Everyone knows that Pakistan was a front line state in supporting the West is ousting the Soviets from Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the United States all were involved so it is nonsensical to point fingers at Pakistan alone. As for the ISI, it’s job is to make sure that snakes from India or their agents in Afghanistan don’t continue their subversive attacks on Pakistani soil.Recommend

  • Hania
    Apr 24, 2011 - 10:01AM

    Americans always think for their personal interest. Look what they are doing and they have done in the past. Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Afghanistan, N. Korea, Japan and now Libya, Pakistan are the major victims of America because they only thrust for more power and resources. They always weakened Pakistan. From the very first day of relationship with any country Americans are never trust worthy. They always betrayed their friends. It was well said that their friendship is more harmless then their anger. Americans think that life of any non-american is much of no use.They justify wrongly whatever they had done. Recommend

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