CIA "exploited intelligence leads" given by ISI to reach bin Laden: Pak FO

Islamabad, May 4(ANI): Pakistan has said that the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is the world's top spy agency in terms of achievements against Al Qaeda and in the war on terror, and that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) "exploited the intelligence leads" given by it to identify and reach Osama bin Laden.

The Saudi-born terrorist, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed Sunday night in a top secret operation involving a small team of US Special Forces in Abbottabad city, located 50 kilometres northeast of Islamabad and 150 kilometres east of Peshawar.

Pakistan's Foreign Office said that Abbottabad and the surrounding areas "have been under sharp focus of intelligence agencies since 2003, resulting in highly technical operation by the ISI that led to the arrest of a high value Al Qaeda target in 2004."

"As far as the target compound is concerned, ISI had been sharing information with CIA and other friendly intelligence agencies since 2009. The intelligence flow indicating some foreigners in the surroundings of Abbottabad, continued till mid April 2011," it said in a statement.

Taking advantage of much superior technological assets, the Foreign Office said, the CIA "exploited the intelligence leads given by us to identify and reach Osama bin Laden, a fact also acknowledged by the US President and Secretary of State, in their statements."

"It is also important to mention that CIA and some other friendly intelligence agencies have benefited a great deal from the intelligence provided by ISI," it added.

This statement appears contradictory to CIA chief Leon Panetta's recent comments that the US did not keep Pakistan in the loop about 'Operation Geronimo' due to fears that Islamabad could have jeopardised the operation by leaking word to its targets.

"It was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardize the mission. They might alert the targets," Time quoted Panetta, as saying in his first interview since commanding the mission to kill bin Laden.

Pakistan's Foreign Office also said: "The ISI's own achievements against Al Qaeda and in War on Terror are more than any other intelligence agency in the World."

Copyright Asian News International/