Intelligence: Finding American Spies in Pakistan

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January 27, 2009: In the last six months, U.S. intelligence efforts have revealed the location of over a hundred al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Pakistan, along the Afghan border. This led to over twenty of them being killed or wounded by Hellfire missiles fired by American UAVs. This included eight of the top twenty leaders of al Qaeda.

The terrorists have responded by killing over a hundred "American spies" in the area. Most of the victims were not working for the Americans, but the Taliban are desperate to show that they are doing something about the poor security in their own backyard, and catching those responsible for the twenty or so situations where the foreigners somehow knew who was in which building at what time. Most of the dead "spies" were simply strangers in the areas where they were seized. The suspects were not put on trial, but were simply killed (shot, hung or beheaded, sometimes with a little torture beforehand.)

What the Taliban don't want to admit is that most of the dead leaders had prices on their heads, and were wanted "dead or alive." That means anyone who supplied location information that led to death-by-Hellfire, could collect the reward (and the offer of transportation for them and their families to a foreign country.) Lots of people are leaving the Taliban controlled border areas, usually to escape the violence, and ultra-conservative lifestyle rules (mandatory beards, no music or video or schools for girls) imposed by the Taliban and al Qaeda. There's no way for the Taliban to know who is leaving to collect a multimillion dollar reward. The U.S. does not publicize the millionaire informants, as this would put remaining family members in danger.

The U.S. has also increased its use of electronic surveillance in the area (including Internet and wireless phones). The new civilian government in Pakistan has also forced Pakistani intelligence to cooperate with American efforts. For decades, Pakistani intelligence has been full of Islamic radicals, and many of these have been forced out of their jobs in the last eight months.

 


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