Friday, February 25, 2011

Hopes For Improvement In U.S.-Pakistani Relations

The New York Times just ran a story that suggests Spring might come soon to the frozen relations between the U.S. government and the Pakistani military and intelligence communities. Maybe.

But first, Pakistan Demands Data on C.I.A. Contractors:

Pakistan’s chief spy agency has demanded an accounting by the Central Intelligence Agency of all its contractors working in Pakistan, a fallout from the arrest last month of an American involved in surveillance of militant groups, a senior Pakistani intelligence official said Friday.

Angered that the American, Raymond A. Davis, worked as a contractor in Pakistan on covert C.I.A. operations without the knowledge of the Pakistanis, the spy agency estimated that there were “scores” more such contractors “working behind our backs,” said the official, who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly about a delicate matter between the two countries.

In a slight softening of the Pakistani stance since Mr. Davis’s arrest, the official said that the American and Pakistani intelligence agencies needed to continue cooperation, and that Pakistan was prepared to put the episode in the past if the C.I.A. stopped treating its Pakistani counterparts as inferior.

-- snip --

The top American and Pakistani military leaders, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, and the leader of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, met this week in Oman, where the Davis case was discussed.

According to a report by a former head of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Jehangir Karamat, who runs a research and analysis center based in Lahore, both sides agreed to try to “arrest the downhill descent.”

-- snip --

In another sign that the two spy services were trying to patch up their differences, Leon E. Panetta, the director of the C.I.A. spoke on Wednesday with Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI director, about resolving Mr. Davis’s case, American and Pakistani officials said on Friday. Mr. Davis, who appeared in handcuffs on Friday for a hearing in a closed courtroom at the jail where he is being held in Lahore, faces possible murder charges.

-- snip --

The demand for the C.I.A. to acknowledge the number of contractors in Pakistan was driven by the suspicion that the American spy service had slipped many such secret operatives into Pakistan in the past six months, the senior ISI official said.

The increase occurred after a directive last July by the Pakistani civilian government, which is often at odds with the ISI, to its Washington embassy to expedite visas without supervision from the ISI or the Ministry of Interior, the senior ISI official said.

On the other hand, Pakistan has just arrested another U.S. citizen, this one a non-official American who lives and works in Peshawar.

The clampdown on American contractors by the Pakistani authorities appeared to be under way Friday with the arrest of an American citizen, Aaron Mark DeHaven, in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

The Peshawar police said Mr. DeHaven was detained because he had overstayed his business visa after his request for an extension last October was turned down.

There was no immediate accusation that Mr. DeHaven worked for the American government, a security official in Peshawar said. But the arrest of Mr. DeHaven, who is married to a Pakistani woman, appears to be a signal that the Pakistani authorities have decided to expel Americans they have doubts about.

The security official said Mr. DeHaven owned a firm, Catalyst Services in Peshawar, that rented houses for Americans in the city.

The American Embassy in Islamabad said in a statement that it did not have details about Mr. DeHaven but that it was arranging consular access for him through the Pakistani government.

During his first months in Pakistan in early 2010, Mr. Davis, the contractor for the C.I.A., was attached to the American Consulate in Peshawar and lived in a house with other Americans in an upscale neighborhood, according to Pakistani officials.

All of the U.S. Consulate personnel in Peshawar live in the same "upscale neighborhood," an area known as University Town. Apparently Mr. DeHaven works for a company that provides logistical support of some kind to one or more of the landlords we rent from. I suppose that association, plus his U.S. citizenship, was more than enough to put him under ISI scrutiny.


Anonymous said...

Great Reporting TSB! Andrea Mitchell
has no clue! I did see somewhere that
400 such visas were awarded on a single day about a year ago.

Now if I can just get my head around what it will take for the opposition to bring down Zardari's government?

Would they have a more favorable view of the ISI? lilGWB

TSB said...

My visa was one of the 400. The Pakistani Foreign Office was directed to approve that big backlog of requests without waiting for ISI clearance. Now, we're back to a visa bottleneck again.

Zardari's government? That's such a fragile thing it could fall at any time. Just hope that the successor isn't the ISI.

Anonymous said...

What do you think are the prospects for Musharraf getting convicted
of murder in the case of Benazir
Bhutto? Might he call GWB (my cat)
as a character witness?


TSB said...

No prospect, if it's an honest trial. She had survived at least one major attempt on her life (a roadside bomb), and had excellent security, when she got careless at her last campaign stop. She got into a randomly-selected armored vehicle to depart a secure venue that had multiple exits - so far so good - but then she stood up through the roof hatch to wave to the crowd as she drove outside the secure perimeter.

No one could have known she would do that. The assassin only had a handgun, so he would have been completely ineffective had she just stayed inside the car.

I don't see the makings of a conspiracy there.

Anonymous said...

How do you get an honest trial for
the current government's biggest critic? Also someone who was more than happy to sack the Supreme Court.

I wonder if he will be sent to Pakistan by the same people who have decided to send Assange to Sweden?

Pakistan is a really interesting place these days! lilGWB

TSB said...

Yeah, he won't be put on trial. The threat of that is just a tactic to deter Musharraf - who is still popular - from coming back to run for President.

Anonymous said...

Did you see the autopsy results? I can't find them w/o buying the UN
report. lilGWB

Anonymous said...

oops!I looked at the video again. That blood on the seat and the guy with the gun.. she dropped before the explosion but after the gunshot.

So Rawalpindi police stopped the autopsy. Looks like Musharraf is in trouble to me cause he blocked the investigation. You were right.. she was shot. BUT WHO WAS BEHIND IT??


Anonymous said...

Forty-five arrested for having links with DavisDAWN.COM (1 hour ago) Today

Damn those cell phones! Looks like this trial could be a boon to Pakistani lawyers! I'll bet 10 pesos the government falls before this is all over. lilGWB

TSB said...

Regarding the autosy results, no, I don't have a source for them. but I remember a British mediacal examiner did the work, and he briefed the press that he believed the damage to Benizir's skull was done by the handle of the roof hatch. That cause sounded very un-conspiratorial, but very realistic.

Regarding Davis, I wonder about the cell phones and GPS that the Paks seized and have been examining. Since Davis was a TDY-er who moved around among the four posts in Pakistan, those devices were almost certainly not assigned to him permanently, but were issued to him - and had probably been issued to many other transient types - only when he got to Lahore. You might think the CIA would not allow a long trail of recoverable data to build up on those devices, but .... if you work for a large bureacracy, you might not be surprized to learn that somebody screwed up.

Anonymous said...

INDEED! And with the enhanced interrogation techniques now available they should be able to
establish almost any case they
want against Davis. Also I saw today that US officials say the Pakistani's
wanted to trade Davis for a real
Pakistani al queda.. the wife of
al zawhiri's nephew who we sentenced to 80 years for attempted murder in
Afghanistan. (She would then have been put under house arrest back home.)