Skip to comments.Clapper: US, Pakistan spies rebuild ties
Posted on 10/07/2011 2:20:56 PM PDT by Hunton Peck
WASHINGTON (AP) After a troubled period in U.S.-Pakistani relations, Pakistani forces have arrested five key al-Qaida suspects at the CIA's request, including a senior operative whose name has not been made public, and also allowed U.S. intelligence officers to question those detainees, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.
Pakistan has also stopped demanding the CIA suspend the covert drone strikes that have damaged al-Qaida's militant ranks in Pakistan's tribal areas, officials on both sides say though the Pakistanis say they have simply put this on the back burner for now. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive strategic matters.
The moves mark a step forward in a relationship that has been at a near stand-still since the covert U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan in May. The raid inflamed anti-American sentiment in Pakistan and embarrassed its intelligence services, although both sides quietly said intelligence cooperation never completely stopped.
"It had reached its nadir, but now it's going in the other direction," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday.
"They are doing things to cooperate and be helpful," Clapper said, though he would not comment on the details shared by other U.S. as well as two Pakistani officials.
For a time, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency refused to carry out any joint operations with American intelligence officers, nor would they allow the Americans access to question militant detainees. Visas as well were hard to come by for U.S. officials of any stripe. The breakdown in relations took on a tit-for-tat quality, with Pakistan expelling most of the U.S. military trainers in the country, and the U.S. cutting off several hundred million dollars in military aid.
There are still bumps, including over recent high-level U.S. criticism
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Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman, as usual, couldn’t be reached for comment.
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