Islamabad Suspicion rose Monday that Pakistan’s intelligence service leaked the name of the CIA chief in Islamabad to local media in anger over the raid that killed Osama bin Laden — the second outing of an American covert operative here in six months.
The U.S. said it has no plans to pull the spy chief, but the incident is likely to exacerbate an already troubled relationship between the two countries a week after Navy SEALs in helicopters swooped down on bin Laden’s compound without first telling the Pakistanis. The CIA and Pakistan’s spy agency have long viewed each other with suspicion, which the death of the terror leader has laid bare.
The Pakistani military and intelligence services have suffered withering criticism at home for failing to stop the U.S. operation. Many Pakistanis view the raid as a violation of their sovereignty — even if they were pleased that bin Laden was killed.
U.S. officials have said they didn’t tell Pakistanis in advance because they were worried someone might tip off bin Laden. American forces also used helicopters with radar-evading technology so the Pakistanis couldn’t track them.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani defended the military and intelligence services Monday, telling parliament it was “disingenuous for anyone to blame Pakistan ... for being in cahoots with al-Qaida.”
He acknowledged his nation’s failure to track bin Laden but said the failure wasn’t Pakistan’s alone.
“Yes, there has been an intelligence failure,” Gilani said. “It is not only ours but of all the intelligence agencies of the world.”
U.S. officials have said they see no evidence that anyone in the upper echelons of Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment was complicit in hiding bin Laden in Abbottabad, an army town only 35 miles from the capital. But suspicions remain, and members of Congress have threatened to cut off U.S. aid if evidence is found.