Pakistan arrests CIA's bin Laden informants: report

WASHINGTON Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:55am EDT

Members of the anti-terrorism squad are seen surrounding the compound where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad May 4, 2011. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

Members of the anti-terrorism squad are seen surrounding the compound where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad May 4, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Faisal Mahmood

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pakistan's top military spy agency has arrested five CIA informants who fed information to U.S. intelligence before the raid last month which killed Osama bin Laden, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

One of the detainees was reported to be a Pakistani Army major whom officials said copied license plates of cars visiting the al Qaeda leader's compound 30 miles northwest of Islamabad.

The fate of the CIA informants arrested in Pakistan was unclear, the newspaper reported, citing American officials.

Outgoing CIA Director Leon Panetta raised the issue of the informants' detention during a trip to Islamabad last week where he met Pakistani military and intelligence officers, the newspaper said.

The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate, Pakistan's main military spy agency, declined to comment, but the army denied that any army major was among those arrested in connection with the May 2 raid by U.S. special forces in the garrison town of Abbottabad.

"There is no truth in NYT story with regards to involvement and arrest of army major in connection with the OBL (Osama bin Laden) incident," military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said in a statement.

A senior Pakistani security official said some people were detained in connection with the Abbottabad raid and they were still being investigated.

Asked whether those arrested were CIA informants as mentioned in the NYT report, he said: "Investigations are under way and after completion of investigation one cay say which category they belonged to."

Some in Washington see the arrest as another sign of the deep disconnect between U.S. and Pakistani priorities in the fight against extremists, the Times reported.

The United States kept Islamabad in the dark about the May 2 raid by Navy SEALs until after it was completed, humiliating Pakistan's armed forces and putting U.S. military and intelligence ties under serious strain.

Last week, at a closed Senate Intelligence Committee briefing, Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell rated Pakistan's cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism operations a "three" on a scale of 1 to 10, the Times reported, citing officials familiar with the exchange.

Other officials cautioned that his comments did not represent the administration's overall assessment, the newspaper said. "We have a strong relationship with our Pakistani counterparts and work through issues when they arise," CIA spokesman Marie Harf told the newspaper.

"Director Panetta had productive meetings last week in Islamabad. It's a crucial partnership, and we will continue to work together in the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups who threaten our country and theirs."

Asked about the Times report, a CIA spokeswoman neither confirmed nor denied it and said she had no further comment.

Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, was quoted as saying that the CIA and the Pakistani spy agency "are working out mutually agreeable terms for their cooperation in fighting the menace of terrorism. It is not appropriate for us to get into the details at this stage."

(Reporting by JoAnne Allen; additional reporting by Zeeshan Haider in Islamabad; Editing by Chris Allbritton and Alex Richardson)

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Comments (3)
PKFA wrote:
Is this a big surprise? It’s obvious that Pah-kiss-tahn was harboring OBL and that they’re not too happy with what the USA did. Those who helped the US should have seen this coming and should have asked for, and been given, asylum.

Jun 15, 2011 7:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Majick1 wrote:
It is becoming more clear every day that Pakistan is a political enemy of the US. I think it is time to cut off all our aid to them and let them suffer the consequences. We could use that money to reduce our national debt. Follow up by stopping aid to all countries, including Israel, who enjoy thumbing their nose at us. That alone would take care of the US financial woes.

Jun 15, 2011 9:01am EDT  --  Report as abuse
SportsCar39 wrote:
Pakistan arrested the CIA Informants because they wanted to know how the informants knew that Osama bin Laden was staying at that compound and why they didn’t tell Pakistan’s (ISI) that the U.S. was going to attack the compound in order to kill Osama bin Laden. If Pakistan’s (ISI) knew of the pending attack, they could have warned Osama bin Laden and moved him prior to the attack. That has to be the reason, How else would Osama bin Laden be staying right under the nose of Pakistan’s military compound that is compared to the U.S.’s West Point. He was being protected by Pakistan’s military and they did a very bad job protecting Al Qaeda’s Leader.

Go U.S.’s Navy Seals your the best there ever was!!!!!!!!, and the best there ever is!!!!!!!, and the best there ever will be!!!!!!!!!!!

Jun 17, 2011 7:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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