War against Counter-Terror: Pakistan Arrests CIA Informants
Pakistan has arrested several informants who helped the CIA prepare to raid the compound of Osama Bin Laden, indicating that the country is not only not cooperating with the American war on terror but is actually fighting it.
Michael J. Morell, the deputy CIA director, told a closed briefing of the Senate Intelligence Committee last week that Pakistan rates “three’ on a scale of 1-10 on cooperating with the U.S. counterterror effort, The New York Times reported.
The Pentagon has trained elite fighters in Pakistan’s army to fight Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorist gangs, and one of the CIA informants was a Pakistani army major. The Times’ article stated that he copied the license plate numbers of vehicles that arrived at Bin Laden’s million-dollar compound. Meanwhile, the training program has ended.
The fate of the informants is not known.
After the raid, in which Bin Laden was killed, U.S. President Barack Obama said that a strategic decision was made to hide the operation from Pakistan for fear that it would torpedo the operation.
American suspicions apparently were on target. Bin Laden lived in his compound for five years under the noses of authorities. Republican Congressman Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, went so far as to suggest that Pakistani officials actually helped protect Bin Laden, but added that he has no proof.
The CIA tried to paint a rosier picture of American-Pakistani efforts to fight terror. “We have a strong relationship with our Pakistani counterparts and work through issues when they arise,” said a CIA. spokeswoman. “Director [Len E.] Panetta had productive meetings last week in Islamabad. It’s a crucial partnership, and we will continue to work together in the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups who threaten our country and theirs.”
However, the CIA is preparing for less cooperation, particularly out of concern that Pakistan will place strong restrictions on drone flights. In response, the CIA is planning to relocate some of the drones to Afghanistan.
Pakistan is one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid, with $1.5 billion appropriated by Congress in 2009 for economic and developmental purposes, in order to gain support in the strategically situated country for the war in Afghanistan against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.