'Pakistan intentionally leaked CIA official's name'

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Washington, May 10: American officials believe that the authorities in Pakistan, in particular the spy agency ISI, intentionally leaked the name of the CIA station head in Islamabad, a media report has said.

"If true, the leak would be a sign that Pakistan's powerful security establishment, far from feeling hastened by the killing of Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison city, is seeking to demonstrate its leverage over Washington and retaliate for the unilateral US operation," The Washington Post reported.

This is the second time in less than six months that the identity of CIA Station Head in Islamabad has been leaked and made public in Pakistan, thus putting to risk the top US intelligence official in that country.

"The new station chief, who runs one of the largest US intelligence-gathering operations in the world, played an instrumental role in overseeing efforts to confirm bin Laden's location before last week's raid," the daily said, adding that the discovery of bin Laden's presence in a Pakistani city was considered a huge embarrassment for Pakistan's military.

"The United States viewed it as an opportunity to press Pakistan, the recipient of billions of dollars in annual American aid, to crack down harder on militants. Outrage among Pakistanis over the operation was also seen as a rare chance for the weak civilian government in Islamabad to stake its claim in foreign and security policy, areas long the domain of the army," it said.

American officials acknowledged that they had no hard evidence, but a US official said that the suspicion was "based on past history."

The official indicated that evidence has accumulated in recent months that the ISI was behind the exposure of the station chief last year, The Post said.

"This is a seasoned CIA veteran who is a professional and someone who knows how to deal with foreign intelligence services very well," a US official was quoted as saying.

PTI

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