New CIA chief arrives in capital


The new undercover Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Islamabad station chief has arrived in Pakistan days after the former abruptly left the country, reports said on Monday.
US officials said the former CIA chief was called back to the US on medical grounds but the American media reported that he left Pakistan due to tensions with the ISI chief.
He was also believed to have developed serious differences with US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter on the CIA-led drone campaign in the country’s tribal belt.
The new CIA station chief is the third in the last seven months that the US top spy agency has appointed in Pakistan, IRNA news agency reported.
The new CIA chief has already met senior Pakistani intelligence officials, including ISI chief Shuja Pasha, in an effort to mend the deteriorating ties. However, neither the Pakistani authorities nor the US embassy has confirmed the meeting.
A US embassy spokesperson even refused to confirm or deny the arrival of the new CIA station chief, saying he was not authorised to speak on intelligence matters. The CIA Islamabad station chief is considered to be one of the US agency’s most important positions in the world. In December last year, the CIA pulled its then station chief Jonathan Banks out of Pakistan after his cover was blown in a lawsuit filed by relatives of drone attack victims.
His successor, who recently left the post, oversaw the intelligence operation that led to the May 2 raid by US Special Forces in Abbottabad that killed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. However, over the past few months, his relations with the ISI had deteriorated. The country’s security establishment has repeatedly expressed reservations over what it called “the private CIA network”. Following the Abbottabad raid, security agencies rounded up several Pakistanis, who were believed to be working for the CIA.
“The CIA’s decision to pull out its Islamabad station chief is a confidence-building measure to rebuild ties with the ISI,” said a security official.