Pakistan's ISI accused to tipping targets

BBC:

Pakistan says its intelligence agents have been accused by the US of alerting al-Qaeda linked militants before the US launches missile attacks against them.

Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar said members of Inter-Services Intelligence were accused of "tipping off" militants before strikes in the tribal areas.

Mr Mukhtar said that the Americans "mistrusted" the ISI.

His unusual public admission of the rebuke seems to mark a new low in ties between the US and Pakistan's spies.

Mr Mukhtar was speaking in Washington, where he is accompanying Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on his first visit to the US.

Speaking on Pakistan's Geo TV, he said the Americans had alleged that information about targets was being "leaked".

"The burning issue of course is as to who controls the ISI," he said.

"In their [the Americans'] view there are some people at some level in the ISI who tip off the Taleban at some level about impending missile attacks when these are shared with the Pakistanis.

"They [the Americans] have expressed displeasure over this."

Mr Mukhtar also openly admitted that President Bush had asked who was really in charge of the ISI during the visit to Washington.

The BBC's security correspondent Rob Watson says that relations between the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the ISI appear decidedly strained.

...

The US no longer gives Pakistan advance notice when it targets militants in tribal areas, correspondents say.

...


British understatement tells the story here. There probably is still some communication channels with the ISI and the CIA but notice of strikes is not among the communications at this point. The ISI could easily run a sting operation within its ranks to discover the source of the leaks if it were determined to stop them.

The statement of the Pakistan government does suggest they are taking the problem serious. That seems new and is a hopeful sign. It is in Pakistan's interest to get control of these elements that are undermining their stated policy and are also helping those trying to undermine the government.

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