Home » International News » 2011 » June » June 11, 2011

'Out of control' ISI leaking US intelligence secrets to help terrorists flee

June 11, 2011 - Islamabad

The United States' intelligence sharing with Pakistan as part of a trust-building effort by the Obama administration post-May 2 raid has only led to tip-offs to militants, indicating that some Pakistani security personnel are colluding with insurgents.

The US provided Pakistan with the specific locations of insurgent bomb-making factories twice in recent weeks, only to see the militants learn their cover had been blown and vacate the sites before military action could be taken, The Washington Post reported, citing US and Pakistani officials.

According to officials, overhead surveillance video and other information was given to Pakistani officials in mid-May as part of a trust-building effort by the US administration after the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a unilateral US raid inside Pakistani territory on May 2.

Officials said that video of the two installations indicated that both were being used to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IEDs) - the roadside bombs that are the principal killers of US and coalition troops in Afghanistan.

One was located in a girls' school in the city of Miram Shah, home to the Haqqani network's North Waziristan headquarters, while the other, in South Waziristan, was thought to be an Al-Qaeda-run facility, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the report said.

While the United States has conducted an aggressive campaign of drone strikes in the tribal areas, both sites were considered poor drone targets because of the high potential for civilian casualties, it added.

Access to the video was granted to Pakistan two weeks ago, leading to a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen, the report said.

At that time, Clinton asked about action on the videos, and has since followed up with two telephone calls to Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, it added.

But the two installations had been cleared out before Pakistani military units moved against them on June 4, satellite imagery subsequently revealed.

A local security official in North Waziristan confirmed that Pakistani forces had raided the girls' school after militants had abandoned it, the report said, adding that a local tribal official said that it was common for insurgent groups to use schools and hospitals to manufacture weapons.

A senior Pakistani military official said that the US had also shared information about other sites, including weapons-storage facilities, that were similarly found empty, it added.

"There is a suspicion that perhaps there was a tip-off," the official said. "It's being looked into by our people, and certainly anybody involved will be taken to task."

In the past, Pakistan has strenuously denied allegations that its security services are colluding with insurgents.

The incidents are expected to feature prominently in conversations between Pakistani officials and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Leon Panetta, who arrived in Pakistan on Friday.

According to one official, the US argument would be: "We are willing to share, but you have to prove you will act. Some of your people are no longer fully under your control."

US officials said that Panetta, who is nominated to succeed US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, would also carry a more positive message, reiterating that the US wants to rebuild a trusting, constructive relationship with Pakistan.


Comment on this story