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CIA Pulls Its Chief From Pakistan

December 18, 2010

The CIA has recalled it top officer from Pakistan after his cover was blown and his life threatened.

The alleged name of the CIA's station chief in Islamabad was revealed by a Pakistani man, Kareem Khan, who has threatened to sue the intelligence agency over the death of his son and brother in a U.S. missile strike.

Khan and his lawyers told a news conference in November that they would seek a $500 million payment for his family members' deaths and warned they may sue CIA director Leon Panetta, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and the man they identified as a CIA officer.

Last week, Khan formally asked the Pakistani police to investigate the CIA station chief's responsibility in the deaths.

"I named the CIA's station head in Islamabad in case he was responsible for the killing of my brother and my son," Khan told RFE/RL. "If I get proof of the involvement of the Pakistani government and officials in the drone strikes, then I will definitely also file a case against them."

Supporters of Khan have staged protests in Islamabad in which they demanded the CIA officer leave the country and brandished placards bearing his name as listed in the lawsuit.

Khan, who claims to be a journalist, has refused to clarify how he obtained the name of the officer.

Pakistan's top spy agency rejected speculation that it had leaked the information in retaliation for a U.S. lawsuit accusing the head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence of being linked to the deadly terror attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008.

Anger At Attacks

There have been more than 110 attacks by unmanned aircraft on Pakistan this year. On December 17 alone, at least 24 suspected militants were killed in three drone missile attacks close to the Afghan border.

The United States, however, does not acknowledge the missile attacks, which has angered many Pakistanis, who say drone attacks often kill innocent civilians.

Khan's lawyer, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, says that since Khan's high-profile lawsuit "several more drone attack victims from tribal areas" have come forward.

"There is no justification for drone attacks under either Pakistani or international laws. Those who stage such attacks should provide compensation to families of people killed in drone strikes," Akbar argues. "So far 13 more families have contacted us on this issue and provided us with evidence."

Shahzad Akbar said he got the CIA officer's name from local journalists.

The CIA station chief in Islamabad is responsible for running the drone program.

He or she also operates as a de facto military commander in the U.S. war against Al-Qaeda and other militant groups hidden along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

written by Claire Biig, with contributions from Radio Mashaal's Daud Khattak

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/article/2252096.html

Copyright (c) 2010. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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