Sunday Feb 27, 201107:15 PM GMT
Quick Facts: CIA -ISI relations
Sun Feb 27, 2011 7:16PM
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As the U.S.-Pak diplomatic standoff over the arrest of CIA agent Raymond Davis for double murder persists, another U.S. national has been arrested in Pakistan for his alleged illegal stay in the country following the expiry of his visa.

 

Aaron Mark DeHaven was arrested by security agencies in Peshawar on February 25 and booked under the Foreigners Act on charges of illegally residing in Pakistan after his visa expired in October last year.

 

The incidents unfolding over the past month have prompted Press TV's U.S. Desk to take a closer look at what goes on behind the scenes between the two countries' spy agencies.

 

Highlights

 

The U.S.' secret agency the CIA is waging a highly dangerous game to destabilize Pakistan.

 

CIA's covert war has various aspects including targeted assassinations, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets, gathering intelligence and helping direct a secret U.S. military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes.

 

The CIA has long used intelligence from the ISI to help identify targets for drone strikes in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, but now, as officials on both sides say, it operates largely autonomously, especially since it has been concentrating its fire on the Haqqani militant network in the North Waziristan region.

 

The United States recently warned Pakistan that once beyond a tipping point, the standoff between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pakistani Inter-services Intelligence (ISI) would be taken over by political forces that cannot be controlled.

 

Faced with pointed questions from lawmakers about strained ties with Pakistan, CIA Director Leon Panetta acknowledged earlier in February that relations between both nations' intelligence agencies were "one of the most complicated" he had ever seen.

 

CIA-ISI relations turn sour

 

The United States claims that counter-terrorism efforts by the CIA in Pakistan's tribal region are apparently being hampered by the country's premier spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which seems to be covertly helping the Haqqani network escape CIA's drone strikes.

 

The CIA has long used intelligence from the ISI to help identify targets for drone strikes in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, but now, as officials on both sides say, it operates largely autonomously, especially since it has been concentrating its fire on the Haqqani militant network in the North Waziristan region.

 

Faced with pointed questions from lawmakers about strained ties with Pakistan, CIA Director Leon Panetta acknowledged earlier in February that relations between both nations' intelligence agencies were "one of the most complicated" he had ever seen.

 

While the ISI continued to help America target al Qaeda leaders in the tribal areas, Panetta said that its policies in other areas were in direct conflict with the U.S., stoking frequent tensions.

 

The ISI has long nurtured ties with the Haqqani network, which it sees as a strategic asset that can help Islamabad fend off Indian influences in neighboring Afghanistan.

 

In contrast, Washington sees the Haqqanis, who have been responsible for spectacular attacks in Kabul, as the biggest single threat to Western and Afghan forces, particularly in eastern Afghanistan. Thaindian

 

The United States recently warned Pakistan that once beyond a tipping point, the standoff between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pakistani Inter-services Intelligence (ISI) would be taken over by political forces that cannot be controlled.

 

A host of top American military officials, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen and ISAF commander General David Petraeus, held a secret day-long meeting with Pakistan's top military officers, including Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani, in Oman on February 22, 2011 to plot a course out of the diplomatic crisis that threatens the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

 

The meeting covered various aspects of the U.S.-Pak relationship, but a large portion was dedicated to the diplomatic crisis surrounding Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor who was arrested for shooting dead two Pakistani men last month in Lahore.

 

But once the Davis case is resolved, there is still much work to be done in repairing the CIA-ISI relationship. The ISI is widely suspected of airing its anger with the CIA in both the Pakistani and U.S. media for being treated "like their lackeys."

 

"It's a vicious circle. Davis was in Pakistan because Pakistan can't be trusted. But Davis getting caught has increased the mistrust," a senior Pakistani official said. News.oneindia

 

CIA's covert operations in Pakistan

 

At a time when Pakistan has once again become a frontline state and is rendering enormous financial and human sacrifices in the U.S.' war on terror, it is a highly unfortunate but undeniable reality that the U.S.' secret agency the CIA is waging a highly dangerous game to destabilize Pakistan. The Faultlines

 

CIA's covert war has various aspects including targeted assassinations, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets, gathering intelligence and helping direct a secret U.S. military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes.

 

However, the worst and most damaging from Pakistan's point of view has been CIA's role in supporting anti-Pakistan elements fighting against Pakistani security forces in tribal areas. The Nation

 

There have been indications that the anti-Pakistan Taliban have been receiving support from the U.S. forces in Afghanistan and also from the Afghan Authorities. Daily Times

 

Blackwater (Xe) a proxy for CIA in Pakistan

 

The CIA has been conducting its covert war in Pakistan through various proxies mainly the Balckwater or Xe Services. Although initially U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan and the Pakistani officials were adamant in their denial of the presence of Blackwater in the country, all of them had to suffer humiliation when the presence of Balckwater in Pakistan was confirmed by none other than the U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

 

In an interview with the Pakistani TV station, Express TV, in January 2010, Defense Secretary Robert Gates confirmed that the private security firms Blackwater and DynCorp were operating inside Pakistan. The Nation

 

The controversy over Blackwater stems mainly from its work in Iraq and Afghanistan that raised questions about the U.S. use of private contractors in war zones. Guardian

 

Blackwater is a particularly emotive issue in Pakistan, where the company's name, along with the drone strikes, have become lightning rods for anti-American sentiment.

 

The Guardian on December 11, 2009, quoted an unnamed ex U.S. official as saying that Blackwater was operating at a secret CIA air base, Shamsi Air Base in Baluchistan which is a key element in the CIA coordinated missile strikes. Guardian

 

HJ/SM/DB

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