Imran Khan’s PTI Party Retaliates for Drone Strike, Outs Islamabad CIA Station Chief

Recall that back on November 21, John Brennan allowed the CIA to carry out a drone strike that hit a settled area of Pakistan rather than the tribal areas where most strikes occur. I noted that by striking within the province governed by former cricket star Imran Khan’s PTI party, Brennan was setting himself up for some significant blowback.

Today, less than one week after the drone strike, that blowback has hit hurricane force. From The Guardian:

The political party led by the former cricket star Imran Khan claims to have blown the cover of the CIA‘s most senior officer in Pakistan as part of an increasingly high-stakes campaign against US drone strikes.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party named a man it claimed was head of the CIA station in Islamabad in a letter to police demanding he be nominated as one of the people responsible for a drone strike on 21 November, which killed five militants including senior commanders of the Haqqani Network.

John Brennan, the CIA director, was also nominated as an “accused person” for murder and “waging war against Pakistan”.

Recall that another station chief was outed in 2010, also in response to a drone strike. He left the country very quickly. If you insist on knowing the name that was revealed, this article mentions it, but the name strikes me as more of a cover name than a real name.

The document that names John Brennan and the Islamabad station chief is an FIR, or First Information Report. Here is how those reports work in Pakistan:

First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence. It is a report of information that reaches the police first in point of time and that is why it is called the First Information Report. It is generally a complaint lodged with the police by the victim of a cognizable offence or by someone on his/her behalf. Anyone can report the commission of a cognizable offence either orally or in writing to the police. Even a telephonic message can be treated as an FIR. It is a duty of police to register FIR without any delay or excuses. Non-registration of FIR is an offence and can be a ground for disciplinary action against the concerned police officer.


A cognizable offence is one in which the police may arrest a person without warrant. They are authorized to start investigation into a cognizable case on their own and do not require any orders from the court to do so.

In the FIR, PTI officials are claiming that the station chief does not have diplomatic immunity and should be blocked from exiting the country. I wonder if John Kerry is going to have to make another surreptitious pick-up like the one he did when he spirited out of Pakistan the unidentified driver who killed a pedestrian on his failed mission to rescue Raymond Davis before his arrest in Lahore.

Khan’s party also has been attempting to shut down NATO supply vehicles passing through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, but they have not been very successful in that regard. Returning to the Guardian article:

Khan responded with a massive rally in the provincial capital of Peshawar and ordered PTI activists to block vehicles carrying supplies to Nato troops in Afghanistan.

However, party workers have struggled to identify Nato cargo amid all the sealed containers plying the roads to Afghanistan. The exercise has received no support from the national government and the police have tried to stop PTI workers blocking lorries.

There also are reports of arrests for damaging shipping containers on trucks and attacking drivers.

Khan has clearly upped the stakes in his battle with Brennan. How will Brennan respond? At a bare minimum, more drone strikes in the province seem like a pretty safe bet.

9 replies
  1. Seedee Vee says:

    “Tony Dallas” or “George Crawford” would have been a better name.

    But the one they have is pretty good. It’s also the same one as one of the writers for “Call of Duty – Black Ops 1&2”, one of the best selling video game franchises of all time. That would be a pretty funny name for a spy.

  2. joanneleon says:

    Yeah, this isn’t good and anyone with half a brain would have known that Khan would react this way. I’m not surprised that the Pak govt is not supporting blocking the convoys since they now receive a lot more money for the shipments after the last time the shipments were shut down and renegotiated. Also, I don’t know the politics but I know enough to realize that Khan probably is a political threat to those already in power. He ran for president, didn’t he?

    But Khan is such a popular figure that surely Brennan couldn’t take him out, could he? Why did he do this in Khan’s province, knowing he’d flip out? Would have been a deliberate provocation or is there another explanation? Is there any kind of a rush on drone strikes due to closing bases and withdrawal?

  3. Don Bacon says:

    Imran Khan is not only a former cricket star, he’s the most popular politician in Pakistan since Benazir Bhutto. Khan might’ve whipped Nawaz Sharif in a fair election in June, according to Khan’s loud protestations.

    Pakistan, as always, never disappoints for interest.

  4. C says:

    While I hate to sound like Glenn Beck there are parts of this story that bug me and “Raise disturbing questions that need to be answered!!!”

    Sarcasm aside, if this is in fact the correct station chief, and Pakistani factions have been wrong before, then how did Khan get the name? It is possible that the CIA chief may have been overly public or that the name was given to them by someone in the ISI who would have had it and isn’t a fan of us.

    Coupled with that, why did we choose to hit a school in the on part of Pakistan that he enjoys the most support? Yes supposedly the target was there and perhaps it was just a jucy spot but as @joanneleon notes it doesn’t take a genius to see the political fallout.

    Then we add in the fact that it is becoming clearer how dependent we are on “eyes on the ground” (read ISI, Yemeni Intelligence, “Returned” Gitmo Detainees) for the supposedly precise strikes.

    I keep wondering, are we just being set up? Is the ISI, which has never liked a stable civilian government or the U.S. been using us to ratchet up tensions or are they still so sung by our killing Bin Laden on their turf that they want us to piss of Khan and his people and provoke a closure of the roads so that they can go back to managing Afghanistan.

    Given the reliability of “our allies” in the region it seems ever more like we should be sprinting for the middle eastern exits.

  5. Don Bacon says:

    In this mistaken adventure the US has been stupidly allied with and funding the neighboring country (Pakistan) which is supporting the people (Taliban) who are killing Americans.

    General McChrystal’s Report, Aug 30, 2009:
    ‘Afghanistan’s insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. . .and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan’s ISI [Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence ]. . . .Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant efforts and financial investment. In addition, the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian. While Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India.”

    Nevertheless, President Obama, three months later, December 1, 2009 at West Point: . . .”Third, we will act with the full recognition that our success in Afghanistan is inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan.”

    Here, Barry, I’ll fix it for you: “Third, we will act with the full recognition that our successfailure in Afghanistan is inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan.”

  6. C says:

    @Don Bacon: Well which Pakistan? At minimum there are three, the democratically elected government, the military, and the ISI. The first isn’t always sure what it wants and often has no say anyway. The second sees Afghanistan as their “backyard” and wants a plaint government there. The latter, well…, they’ve been besties with Bin Laden, then ‘helped’ to hunt him down, trained and still train Lashkar e Taiba, and have apparently helped to run plots against the U.S. but still collaborate with the CIA on drone strikes.

    I suspect Obama meant our partnership with the democratically elected government which was happy to see Bin Laden found not the Military or ISI who were embarrassed and enraged by it.

  7. bloodypitchfork says:

    @emptywheel: quote:”If you insist on knowing the name that was revealed, this article mentions it, but the name strikes me as more of a cover name than a real name.”

    You mean CIA chief Craig Houston is a cover name? err…wait….That name came from the article you linked to..but Kevin at the Dissenter says…
    “The letter nominates Brennan and alleged CIA station chief Craig Osth for “committing the gross offenses of committing murder and waging war against Pakistan.”

    So WTF is going on here???

    The article you linked to also stated Houston has no diplomatic immunity. Well of course not..he’s a fucking spy! sheeesh. This country would hang him if he caused death to a US citizen…DOH!! wait…Omg.. Even WE give “immunity”… to CIA for murdering our own citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 yr old son..

    Well of all the nerve of Pakistan.(I’d pay for a roll eyes smiley here)

    I hope they hang the murdering bastard. Too bad Italy didn’t catch those other CIA torturers.

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