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Democracy Now! | Apr 10
In his new book, "The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth," Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter...
The man who was the CIA's station chief in Islamabad, Robert Grenier, says that Pakistan finds itself in a difficult spot. On the one hand, there's the internal threat of a growing Islamic militancy. And on the other hand, there's Pakistan's partnership with the United States. Now, he's speaking out about Bin Laden and the CIA's escalating drone war in the tribal territories. Grenier tells Express 24/7 that he's seen no evidence that the Pakistani government even knew that Bin Laden was in the country on the day U.S. Special Forces killed him.
You were posted in Pakistan before 9/11, what was your relationship like with the Pakistani authorities?
After 9/11 and the decision of president Musharraf to support the United States in the so-called War on Terror, the relationship with Pakistani intelligence changed fully 180 degrees. From virtually no cooperation we went to full cooperation, at least with respect to Al-Qaeda.
In an interview in 2010, you said that Pakistan did not know where Osama Bin Ladan was, and later on, it was discovered that he was in Abbottabad. Would you still stand by your statement that Pakistan didn't know?
My strong suspicion, even now, is that no one other than the close collaborators of Bin Laden himself knew that he was in Abbottabad, Pakistan. I have seen no evidence, despite the materials that were captured at the site, despite a great deal of American scrutiny, and frankly, a great deal of American suspicion, no one has apparently found any compelling evidence that there was any official knowledge on the part of Pakistan with regard to Bin Laden's whereabouts, so I continue to believe that they were as surprised as anyone when he turned out to be hiding in Abbottabad. Essentially, the trail of Bin Laden went cold after he apparently escaped from the Tora Bora area, around December 2001...even said at the time for all we know, he could be hiding in a small apartment somewhere in Karachi.
You said in an interview that you feel that joint strikes are creating more militants, could you expand a little bit more on that?
This has become politically much more of an irritant even than it was in the early days, and it was some hint of irritant even then. Given the fact that there really is no control on the Pakistani side, the Pakistanis have to deal with the effects of the strikes without really having any particular vote in terms of how these strikes are employed, and I think putting myself in the position of my former counterparts in Pakistan, that must be a source of great frustration and annoyance.
On the other hand, from the the American point of view, they see a responsibility on the part of Pakistan to control its own territory, not to allow its territory be used as a base for militants who were attacking their own soldiers in Afghanistan. Given the apparent inability of the Pakistani's to control the tribal areas, they feel under a great deal of pressure to do something about it unilaterally. The fundamental problem between Pakistan and the United States right now is that they don't see national interests is completely overlapping. In fact, overtime if anything I think their perceptions of their respective national interests are diverging, so I think that Pakistan is very concerned about the effect of the very large U.S. military presence in Afghanistan as a radicalizing effect within Pakistan, Pakistan feels it places an unfair and undo burden upon them. The U.S., on the other hand, very much wants them to address this issue because it poses a threat to U.S., NATO, and Afghan forces. And at the same time, politically I think that there are real concerns that Pakistan has about having an essentially unfriendly government in power in Kabul, very close relations with India, and this is an issue that the U.S. is very reluctant to address.
Five years ago, the Washington Post reported that the CIA asked Robert Grenier to resign. It quoted CIA associates, saying Grenier's boss found him "Insufficiently forceful in the battle with Al Qaeda."