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'Ally' Pakistan's spying on US represents "real world that we deal with": Gates

June 16, 2011 - Washington

The detention of several Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) informants by Pakistan before the May 2 US raid that killed Osama bin Laden is a reflection of the harsh realities of today's world, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has told senators.

Reflecting the growing impatience in Congress with the war in Afghanistan and the sometimes tepid support from Pakistan, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont grilled Gates during a Capitol Hill hearing, The Washington Post reports.

"How long do we support governments that lie to us? When do we say enough is enough?" Senator Leahy questioned.

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

"Do they also arrest the people that help us, when they say they're allies?" Leahy pressed.

"Sometimes," replied Gates, adding, "and sometimes they send people to spy on us, and they're our close allies. That's the real world that we deal with."

While Gates did not directly confirm the CIA informants' detention reports, his comments were the first public acknowledgment by any US official of the Pakistan arrests.

A Western official in Pakistan has confirmed that five Pakistanis were arrested by Pakistan's top intelligence service.

The group of detained Pakistanis included the owner of a safe house rented to the CIA to observe bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, a US official said, adding that the owner was detained along with a "handful" of other Pakistanis.


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