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The U.S. is investigating whether Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency attempted to release the name of its chief operative in Islamabad.If so, it would be the second attempted CIA outing in the past six months; this one coming at a moment of high tension between the United States and the country in which Osama bin Laden was hiding.
In a report by the Arab Times, the Associated Press found the released name is incorrect, but that has not stopped speculation that this move is a response by Pakistan’s powerful intelligence and military communities to last week’s raid on Bin Laden’s compound.
There have been mixed reports about Pakistan’s cooperation in last week’s raid, but the official line remains that there was no official Pakistani involvement. A spokesman for the Pakistani intelligence agency refused to comment, and the U.S. embassy in Pakistan refused to comment Monday.
Though incorrect, the AP refused to publish the name as the operative is undercover and his identity classified — it is not clear whether the operative will remain in place.The AP interviewed a former station chief for perspective:
Asad Munir, a former intelligence chief with responsibility for the tribal zone, said very few people know the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad. But he said that releasing it would not necessarily jeopardize the station chief’s safety.
“Normally people in intelligence have cover names,” Munir said. “My name was known to everybody. Only if there is a photograph to identify him could it put his life in danger.”
The CIA pulled out its last Pakistan station chief after a similar incident last December.