The CIA station chief who oversaw the intelligence work before the raid that killed Osama bin Laden has been pulled out of Islamabad – the second time in seven months that the CIA’s top spy in Pakistan has been replaced.
The station chief was evacuated for “medical reasons” a fortnight ago. But an official familiar with CIA-ISI relations told The Independent that the US’s top clandestine officer was due to be replaced in September, after just 10 months on the job.
While the change of station chiefs so soon is highly unusual, it may alleviate strained relations between Washington and Islamabad. The station chief had clashed with his own ambassador, Cameron Munter, over the use of drones during diplomatic negotiations.
The station chief’s relationship was even worse with the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. Since the Raymond Davis affair, when a CIA contractor killed two men linked to the ISI in January, the pair have repeatedly clashed. The exchanges grew more intemperate after the Bin Laden raid. Evidence of the hostilities came just weeks after the al-Qa’ida leader’s death, when the station chief’s name was leaked to the local press. The name was slightly misspelled, but compromised the CIA agent’s cover. The previous station chief was forced to leave in December after his identity was exposed.
From the Independent.