President Barack Obama:
A journalist pushed aside the domestic agenda and asked President Obama if he agreed with Admiral Mullen’s accusation that Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI had used the Haqqani network as a virtual arm.
“There’s no doubt that we’re not going to feel comfortable with a long-term strategic relationship with Pakistan if we don’t think that they’re mindful of our interests as well,” said the president.
“We will constantly evaluate our relationship with Pakistan based on (what it does) to protect Americans and our interests,” he added.
“And there is no doubt that there’re some connections that the Pakistani military and intelligence services have with certain individuals that we find troubling. And I’ve said that publicly and I’ve said it privately to Pakistani officials as well.”
Former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates:
Mullen accused the Haqqani network of staging an attack against the U.S. embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul and a truck bombing that wounded 77 American soldiers last month. Mullen claimed Pakistan’s spy agency helped the group.
“I think he was at long last giving a voice to what frankly we have known all along, that the Pakistanis were doing this,” Gates said in response to a reporter’s question before the award ceremony. “We’ve made an effort to get them to change their hedging strategy, and we’re just going to have to keep on working at it.”
“I don’t know if I’d say it’s a ‘veritable arm’ of the ISI,” Gates said, “but there’s little question in my mind that they receive support and protection from the ISI.”