Another sign of deteriorating U.S. Pakistan relations in light of the killing of Osama bin Laden which suggested either official collusion or official incompetence:
Amid bitter, recriminatory exchanges between the United States and Pakistan over the Osama bin Laden extermination, planned bilateral visits of President Asif Ali Zardari to Washington DC and a return trip of President Barack Obama to Islamabad are both in jeopardy. Ties between the two sides are expected to slide further following Pakistan’s “outing” of the CIA station chief in Islamabad on Saturday.
In a sign of how bad ties are between the two countries, Pakistani media on Saturday once again publicly named the CIA station chief in Islamabad, a breach of both protocol and trust, that is bound to enrage Washington.
A Pakistani TV channel and a newspaper considered mouthpieces of the country’s military said the ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha had met CIA station chief Mark Carlton to protest US incursion into Abbottabad to kill al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden. CIA station chiefs remain anonymous and unnamed in public although the host government is told.
Earlier, the Obama administration had asked Pakistan to disclose names of its top intelligence operatives to determine whether they had contact with Osama or his agents.
The latest breach indicates that a section of the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment is determined to run the CIA out of the country fearing that the ISI’s links with terror groups and its sheltering of terrorist leaders will be exposed.
All of this will make a difficult sitaution even more difficult for Pakistan on Capital Hill when money to that nation comes up for a vote. And this also suggests more than ever that an element in Pakistan is working flatly against American interests in the war on terror.
With allies like this (YOU fill in the blank..)
In the 70s I lived and worked as a journalist in New Delhi, India, Madrid, Spain, and also for several few weeks in Dacca, Bangladesh. Even in South Asia where the CIA was considered a sinister, shadowy organization, it would have been unheard of for a newspaper to name a CIA official — let alone a newspaper linked to the government or ruling party.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.