Pakistan Arrests C.I.A. Informants in Bin Laden Raid

Eric Schmitt and Mark Mazzetti
The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Pakistan’s top military spy agency has arrested some of the Pakistani informants who fed information to the Central Intelligence Agency in the months leading up to the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, according to American officials.

Pakistan’s detention of five C.I.A. informants, including a Pakistani Army major who officials said copied the license plates of cars visiting Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in the weeks before the raid, is the latest evidence of the fractured relationship between the United States and Pakistan. It comes at a time when the Obama administration is seeking Pakistan’s support in brokering an endgame in the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

At a closed briefing last week, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee asked Michael J. Morell, the deputy C.I.A. director, to rate Pakistan’s cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism operations, on a scale of 1 to 10.

“Three,” Mr. Morell replied, according to officials familiar with the exchange.

The fate of the C.I.A. informants arrested in Pakistan is unclear, but American officials said that the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, raised the issue when he travelled to Islamabad last week to meet with Pakistani military and intelligence officers.

Some in Washington see the arrests as illustrative of the disconnect between Pakistani and American priorities at a time when they are supposed to be allies in the fight against Al Qaeda — instead of hunting down the support network that allowed Bin Laden to live comfortably for years, the Pakistani authorities are arresting those who assisted in the raid that killed the world’s most wanted man.

The article continues at The New York Times.

H/T The Astute Bloggers

Update: Secretary of Defense grilled on arrests of Pakistani tipsters

…Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., raised the issue during the hearing, calling Pakistan a “putative ally” and asking Defense Secretary Robert Gates how long the U.S. should support “governments that lie to us?” “Most governments lie to each other,” Gates replied. “That’s the way business gets done.”

“Do they also arrest the people that help us, when they say they’re allies?” Leahy said.

“Sometimes,” Gates said. “And sometimes they send people to spy on us, and they’re our close allies. That’s the real world that we deal with.”…

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