Blown cover : ISI denies revealing CIA chief’s identity

Published: December 19, 2010
US intelligence officials say the CIA station chief was pulled out from Islamabad amid threats to his life. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

US intelligence officials say the CIA station chief was pulled out from Islamabad amid threats to his life. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

An official of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has denied that it was responsible for revealing the name of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) top clandestine officer in Pakistan.

“We absolutely deny this accusation, which is totally unsubstantiated and based on nothing but conjecture,” a senior ISI official said in a background briefing at the ISI headquarters in Islamabad, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

The top CIA officer in Pakistan, Jonathan Banks, was removed yesterday after American officials said the CIA had received a number of death threats since being publicly identified in a lawsuit by Karim Khan, who alleged that his brother and son had been killed in a drone strike.

“This organisation has immense tolerance. We have cooperated to the hilt despite constant allegations levelled against us. But this story is the biggest bomb shell,” the official said, referring to the article published in The New York Times on Friday.

Claiming that the allegation had greater implications, the official said that the article seemed “intended to create rifts between the ISI and CIA.”

Some US officials had said that they strongly suspected that operatives of Pakistan’s spy service had a hand in revealing the CIA officer’s identity, possibly in retaliation for a civil lawsuit filed in New York last month implicating the ISI chief in the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008. The ISI officials, in turn, pointedly denied these accusations.

The briefing by two senior officials included a litany of complaints as the officials accused western news organisations of continuously publishing  reports that “cast aspersions on the credibility of the spy organisation.”

Both officials claimed that ISI had an excellent working relationship with their counterparts in the CIA. “We regularly deal with the CIA and it has never communicated to us that they have doubts on our sincerity and credibility,” said one official.” In the briefing, the officials suggested that the conduct of CIA’s top officer might itself have been responsible for blowing the agent’s cover. “Americans have a vast access in Pakistan. They openly interact with civil society members, attend dinners and meetings,” one official said.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • hamza
    Dec 19, 2010 - 10:57PM

    typical american propaganda against the ISI. the official is right, this accusation certainly trumps all others that the media has been piling on the ISI. Recommend

  • Mullah Toofhan
    Dec 19, 2010 - 11:32PM

    This could Perhaps be in retaliation to the pressure being put on Pakistan by the American and the NATO countries to take action on N.Waziristan and the ever creeping expansion of Drone strikes deeper in pakistan territory. Pakistan is drawing the line on the sand by leaking the name of CIA station chief to the Media, Pakistan’s reluctance to take orders from the American central command is costing American and NATO lives and war with no end in sight. Pakistan has to see it’s own interest first which is only logical.Recommend

  • Karim Mengal
    Dec 20, 2010 - 9:37AM

    Hullabaloo in CIA regional came. Supreme court should take somoto action against drone attacks.Recommend

  • vasan
    Dec 20, 2010 - 11:13AM

    If this is true, then American pressure on Pakistan will increase. Read today’s editorial in dailytimesRecommend

  • haris
    Dec 20, 2010 - 7:11PM

    east and west isi is best.Recommend

  • nadir hasan
    Jan 7, 2011 - 4:06AM

    DREAM ON …………

    east and west isi is best.
    Dec 20, 2010 – 7:11PM .Recommend

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