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Entries in Informants (2)

Sunday
Jun192011

Pakistan Ambassador Defends Arrest of CIA Informants

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani is defending his nation's decision to detain five informants who aided the CIA in tracking down Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

"Pakistan has rounded up more than 30 people as part of the investigation about the Osama bin Laden compound," Haqqani said. "As far as the concern that there are people amongst the people that we have rounded up who are informants for the CIA, we will deal with them as we would deal with a friendly intelligence service, and we will resolve this to the satisfaction of our friends, as well as to our own laws."

Haqqani said the government took such action to get a better grasp of the operation's details.

"No one has been punished," Haqqani said. "Basically this is an exercise in trying to find out what has happened."

The Pakistani Ambassador maintained that Pakistani intelligence aided in the capture and killing of bin Laden, and assured that both the U.S. and Pakistani militaries are making the capture of the newly-named head of al Qaeda Ayman al-Zawihiri a top priority.

"The U.S side and Pakistan are working together on any information that any side has," Haqqani said. "Whatever we do, we will do jointly."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun152011

US Senators Question Alliance with Pakistan over Informant Arrests

Media and local residents gather outside the hideout of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden following his death by U.S. Special Forces in a ground operation in Abbottabad on May 3, 2011. AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The American sailors who buried Osama bin Laden at sea came home Wednesday and were greeted as heroes. Not so for the half-dozen or so Pakistanis vital to the mission, whose reward was detention by Pakistan's top spy agency.

In Congress Wednesday, there was palpable outrage at a putative ally that receives more than $2 billion a year in U.S. aid.

"How long do we support governments that lie to us? When do we say, 'Enough is enough'?" Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked Secretary of Defense Robert Gates Wednesday at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing. "They arrested people who helped us get him."

Gates prompted laughter with his response.

"First of all, I would say, based on 27 years in CIA and four-and-a-half years in this job, most governments lie to each other," he said. "That's the way business gets done."

Humor aside, the implications of the arrests could be serious, according to former U.S. counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke.

"If the U.S. doesn't have local Pakistani informants, then it's going to be very, very difficult for the United States to stage operations inside Pakistan," Clarke said. "And that's exactly what the Pakistani government wants, for it to be very difficult for the Americans to be able to do this again."

Informants are crucial to U.S. counter-terrorism efforts. It is informants on the ground, usually locals, who provide tips on an enemy target. While information can come by tapping in to cellphone calls and texts, informants can help track and back up what technical monitoring provides. Informants can provide eyes on the ground if a drone strike is called in or a secret raid is conducted to make certain the human target is inside and innocents are not.

The U.S. certainly has leverage over Pakistan. It provides about $2 billion a year in military aid. But even so, this drama is not over.

The U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, told the Senate hearing that although the relationship with Pakistan is complicated, not dealing with the Pakistanis would likely mean the U.S. would be out of the picture in Pakistan -- where the Afghan Taliban is believed to have regrouped -- for another five to 10 years. He added that the U.S. is in the midst of building a relationship with Pakistan, which was "badly broken" in the '80s and '90s.

Mullen said that "some of the criticism is more than warranted" when it comes to the relationship with Pakistan.

"Nobody's worked that harder than me, very frankly, with the leadership -- and it's a conscious decision, I think, that we have to make," he said. "If we walk away from it, it's my view it'll be a much more dangerous place a decade from now, and we'll be back."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio