Media report alleged name of CIA official

Media report alleged name of CIA official

The Associated Press has learned that the name being reported is incorrect. Still, the publication of any alleged identity of the US spy agency’s top official in this country could be pushback from Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence establishment, which was humiliated over the surprise raid on its soil, and could further sour relations between Washington and Islamabad.

On Friday, the private TV channel ARY broadcast what it said was the current CIA station chief’s name. The Nation, a right-wing newspaper, picked up the story on Saturday.
ARY’s news director Mazhar Abbas said the television station’s reporter gleaned the name from a source. He defended the broadcast, saying it was “based on fact”, and denounced allegations that the name was leaked to the television channel by an official with a motive.

The US Embassy and a spokesman for Pakistani intelligence declined to comment. The Associated Press is not publishing the station chief's name because he is undercover and his identity is classified. It was not immediately clear whether the Americans would pull him out of the country.

Asad Munir, a former intelligence chief with responsibility for Pakistan’s militant-riddled tribal areas, said very few people know the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad. But he said that releasing it would not necessarily jeopardise the American’s safety.

In December, the CIA pulled its then-station chief out of Pakistan after a name alleged to be his surfaced in public and his safety was deemed at risk. That name hit the local presses after it was mentioned by a lawyer who planned a lawsuit on behalf of victims of US drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt.

Suspicions have lingered that that outing was orchestrated by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency to avenge an American lawsuit that named its chief over the 2008 terror attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai. The Pakistani agency denied leaking the CIA operative’s name.

Obama calls for investigation

Raising questions about the possibility that “some people inside of government” in Pakistan may have been involved in providing support structure for the slain terrorist Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, President Barack Obama has called for investigations both by Pakistan and US into it.

“We don’t know whether there might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government, and that’s something that we have to investigate and more importantly, the Pakistani government has to investigate,” he told the ‘60 Minutes’ show on ‘CBS News’ in his first interview after bin Laden’s death.

“We think that there had to be some sort of support network for bin Laden inside of Pakistan. But we don’t know who or what that support network was,” Obama said.