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Pakistan TV unmasks supposed top CIA agent but reportedly gets it wrong

It is the second time in recent months that Pakistani media have revealed what they say is the name of the CIA's station chief in Islamabad. A wire service report disputes the claim.

May 09, 2011|By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
  • Activists of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan hold placards during a rally in Islamabad against the unilateral U.S. mission that killed Osama bin Laden.
Activists of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan hold placards during a rally in… (Farooq Naeem, AFP/Getty…)

Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan — A private Pakistani television network has divulged what it claims is the name of the CIA's current station chief in Islamabad, the second time in six months that local media have attempted to unmask the agency's top spy in the South Asian nation.

However, the Associated Press on Monday reported without elaboration that the network got the name wrong.

The report by the private ARY network raised the possibility that Pakistan's intelligence community could be trying to broadside the CIA following embarrassment here over the U.S. raid last week that killed Osama bin Laden. The job of the CIA's Islamabad station chief is regarded as vital because of its role at the center of the agency's drone missile campaign against militants in Pakistan's tribal areas along the Afghan border.

Last December, Pakistani journalist Karim Khan filed a police complaint alleging that his brother and son were killed when a missile fired from a CIA drone hit their home in North Waziristan in December 2009. The complaint included the name of someone Khan claimed was the CIA's station chief in Pakistan, after which the agent was called back to the United States.

It was not known Monday whether the agency's current CIA station chief would remain in Pakistan.

Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence historically has nurtured strong ties with certain Pakistani reporters, who have published information designed to bolster the agency's interests.

Both a senior Pakistani intelligence official and U.S. Embassy officials declined to comment on the matter. ARY's news director, Mazhar Abbas, said he did not ask his reporter what his source was "because I have confidence in him." He defended his decision to run what the channel thought was the right name.

"It was a juicy story, and all stories coming out about the CIA-ISI relationship are relevant," Abbas said.

alex.rodriguez@latimes.com

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