Pakistani spy agency denies it unmasked CIA chief
By NAHAL TOOSI, Associated Press
1 hr 28 mins ago
ISLAMABAD – Pakistan's top spy agency denied speculation Saturday that it helped unmask the CIA's station chief in Islamabad in retaliation for a New York City lawsuit linking Pakistan's intelligence chief to the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, India.
The CIA ordered its station chief out of Pakistan because his life was threatened after a Pakistani lawsuit revealed his name. His recall comes at a delicate time, as the White House presses Islamabad to rid its lawless tribal regions of safe havens for militants fighting in Afghanistan, where the U.S. is grappling with an exit strategy.
The station chief's name was revealed by a Pakistani man threatening to sue the CIA over the deaths of his son and brother in a 2009 U.S. missile strike. The attorney involved with the legal complaint said he learned the name from Pakistani journalists. Pakistan's spy agencies have kept ties to a number of Pakistani journalists as a way to influence coverage.
Questions have arisen as to whether a civil lawsuit filed last month in Brooklyn in connection with the 2008 Mumbai attacks may have raised tensions with Pakistan and spurred it to retaliate. The lawsuit lists Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, as a defendant and accuses the ISI of nurturing terrorists involved in the Mumbai attacks, which left 166 people dead.
A Pakistani intelligence official dismissed any claims of ISI involvement in exposing the CIA official as "a slur." He declined to offer any comment on the Brooklyn lawsuit and said it was entirely possible Pakistani journalists simply figured out the station chief's identity on their own.
Such "unfounded stories can create differences between the two organizations," the Pakistani intelligence official warned.
He also said the CIA has not directly accused the ISI of any wrongdoing in the matter. Like other intelligence officials, he requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of his work and because he is not authorized to speak to media on the record.
The Associated Press learned about the station chief's removal on Thursday but held the story until he was out of the region.
The CIA's work is unusually difficult in Pakistan, an important but at times capricious counterterrorism ally.
The station chief in Islamabad operates as a virtual military commander in the U.S. war against al-Qaida and other militant groups hidden along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The chief runs the Predator drone program targeting terrorists and handles some of the CIA's most urgent and sensitive tips.
The station chief also collaborates closely with Pakistani intelligence. The alliance has led to strikes on key militant leaders but has also been marred by spats between the two agencies. During the first term of President George W. Bush's administration, Pakistan almost expelled a previous CIA station chief in a dispute about intelligence sharing.
It is so tempting to say let's just cut our ties with these losers but I suppose it's better to have some 'inside' connection to one of the major sources of the world's problems. Pakistan has been identified as North Korea's nuclear partner. In exchange for Nodong rockets, Pakistan provides technical assistance on building nuclear facilities.
While the modern world sits and watches, the dysfunctional thugocracies and theocracies "arm up". Can any good come of this?
Top US officer says Iran still driving for a bomb
By ANNE GEARAN, AP National Security Writer
45 mins ago
MANAMA, Bahrain – Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb, posing a threat to its neighbors, and the United States is "very ready" to counter Iran should it make a move, the top U.S. military officer said Saturday.
Adm. , chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reassured Persian Gulf nations nervous that an increasingly militarized government in Iran might try to start a war.
"The United States takes very seriously our in the Gulf region," Mullen said following a meeting with Bahrain's king. Bahrain, directly across the Gulf from Iran, is home to a large U.S. that would be on the front lines of any war with Iran.
"We're very ready," Mullen said, an unusually direct acknowledgment that the United States has contingency plans to counter Iran should it make a move. "There are real threats to peace and stability here, and we've made no secrets of our concerns about Iran."We're on the highway to hell.