OBL debacle: Pakistan arrests CIA informants

The Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) has arrested five CIA informants in Pakistan, including a Pakistan Army major, suspected of feeding information on Osama bin Laden to the CIA, said a report in the New York Times.

American officials told the New York Times that the arrests by Pakistan’s top military spy agency included a Pakistani Army major who allegedly copied the license plates of cars visiting Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, 30 miles from the capital, Islamabad.

The arrests were raised by the CIA director Leon Panetta on a visit to Pakistan last week and underline how vital ties between Washington and Islamabad are unravelling.

The group allegedly covertly photographed vehicles coming and going from the terror leader’s Abbottabad compound in the weeks before he was shot dead.

A Pakistani army major is believed to be among the men being held for passing information to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The owner of a safe house rented to the CIA to observe Bin Laden’s lair before the raid is another of the men arrested, a U.S. official said.

The arrests of the men, including a Pakistani Army major said to have copied the license plate of cars that drove up to bin Laden’s compound deep in Pakistan, comes amid strained ties between Washington and Islamabad in the wake of the US Navy SEALs raid last month.

A Pakistani security official told AFP in Islamabad that Pakistan’s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency had no immediate comment on the report.

Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta raised the fate of the CIA informants during talks with Pakistani military and intelligence officers in Pakistan last week, US officials told the Times.

At a closed briefing last week, CIA Deputy Director rated Pakistan’s counterterrorism cooperation with the United States as three out of 10, officials told the newspaper.