Riedel’s description of ISI.
Bruce Riedel, a former CIA man, and most recently the architect of Obama’s AfPak policy has his views about the ISI. Well, as a fellow sleuth, he sounds charitable and full of praise for Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency. But as a country, that has been the prime target of ISI and its military masters, India will… ahem…. have different views about such certificates of professionalism.
ISI is not a “rogue intelligence agency,” he told a crowd last night at the International Spy Museum, but instead mostly follows the prerogatives of the ruling Pakistani military or civilian leadership. “Fighting some, tolerating others and patronizing a few” is how Riedel described ISI’s relationship with various Afghan and Pakistani extremist organizations, calling such difficult contortions a sign of a “remarkable agile espionage instrument.”
“Just this week, the Pakistanis allowed the head of Lashkar-e-Taiba … [to be] released from the farce of house arrest. Tensions between India and Pakistan are going to go up this week because of that.”
Selective counterterrorism is weak counterterrorism, because the bad guys tend to operate together. For example, within the last several weeks, a major terrorist cell was exposed in the city of Karachi. The target was to go after senior officials in the city government. That cell had as its leadership a troika: one member of the Pakistani Taliban, one member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, and one member of al-Qaeda. They are prepared to work together. They’re not prepared, so far at least, to turn on each other. … How long is Pakistan going to try and have it all ways at the same time?
“The ISI has clearly been penetrated by some of these extreme jihadist groups. When you have attacks inside fortified compounds” — like the one last week in Lahore by the Pakistani Taliban in response to the Pakistani military’s offensive in Swat — “those are being done by someone who’s working a double game. But that doesn’t mean the agency itself is a rogue organization. It means it’s been penetrated.”[TWI]
Even after conceding Riedel’s contention that how the ISI performs its job is great, the question that why it performs those jobs is really worrisome for India [and the rest of the world].