Cablegate: Discussion with Bhutto Designees Regarding Security
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O 271126Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2792
INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 6547
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 1658
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 004599
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/27/2017
TAGS: PREL ASEC PTER CASC PINR PK PGOV
SUBJECT: DISCUSSION WITH BHUTTO DESIGNEES REGARDING SECURITY
REF: ISLAMABAD 4531 AND PREVIOUS
Classified By: Ambassador Anne W. Patterson, Reasons 1.4 (b), (d)
1. (C) Summary: RSO met October 26 with two individuals empowered by Benazir Bhutto to discuss her security. As per reftel, RSO provided names of three security contractors who can provide security assessments and a full range of security services. There has been no reduction in police protection for Bhutto although changes in the leadership of both the investigation (at Bhutto,s request) and the detail have brought about new faces. The Embassy at all levels will continue to reiterate the GOP,s responsibility to provide security for Bhutto. We did so again October 27 to National Security Advisor Tariq Aziz. He assured Ambassador and DCM the GOP was doing everything possible to provide for Benazir,s security. Other agencies continue to provide support to GOP efforts. With the UK Ambassador, we will reiterate our willingness to provide technical law enforcement assistance to the investigation. RSO and CG will also follow up with their law enforcement contracts in Karachi. End Summary.
2. (C) RSO Islamabad and RSO Karachi met October 26 with two individuals who were designated, in writing, by Bhutto to speak about her security. (Note: Islamabad,s RSO has previously served in Karachi and had been involved in some high profile cases. End Note.) The two individuals were AmCit Larry G. Wallace and M. Zia Ispahani, President, PPP Foreign Liaison Committee. Wallace has close ties to Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR).
3. (C) In the discussion, Wallace brought up several concerns. He told RSO that Rick (last name unknown) from the Dubai Blackwater office had called him and advised him that there was a specific threat against Wallace,s life within the next 48 hours. Wallace immediately, in the middle of the night, packed his bags and moved from the Sindh Club (across the street from the Consulate) to the Marriott Hotel (next door to the Consulate). He asked RSO what he should do. RSO told him that he monitored most threat information and that, if there was something specific about Wallace, RSO thought he would have been likely to see it. The Embassy is unaware of the motivation for Blackwater allegedly providing this information to Wallace. RSO briefed Wallace on security awareness.
4. (C) Wallace stated there was a perception that the police had pulled away their protection from Benazir Bhutto. Most of the time, Bhutto has remained in her Bilawal House compound, so the assumption was that the police had reduced security around the compound. The police assured RSO they had not pulled security off her compound. The police have simply opened the perimeter up a little to allow more privacy and freedom, but the security is still there.
5. (C) RSO discussed with Wallace the need for Bhutto to follow the security advice responsible security personnel were providing. The first security officer had been a Senior Superintendent of Police whom Bhutto had hand-picked. He advised Bhutto not to make the long motorcade run but was ignored. After the blast, this individual was removed from Bhutto,s protection/case. His supervisor, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Karachi Manzar Mughal then took over the investigation, but a few days ago was pulled off it at Bhutto,s request. When the DIG Central Investigative Division received the investigation, it was by this time a &cold case.8 It is possible that with such widespread personnel changes on the security team each time the lead investigator is changed, the PPP and Bhutto believe the police are pulling back. Instead, it appears to be a changing of the guard and opinion as to how tight the perimeter should be.
6. (C) Wallace stated to RSO that &all8 Senators and Congresspersons believed the United States should provide Bhutto with security. RSO told Wallace that it was not only improper and impractical in Pakistan but it would require massive resources to do so. Security could be provided by a US Special Forces Team but it would not make any difference. They would all be &fish out of water8 since they did not know the local culture and situation. Perhaps worse, RSO stressed, an American team would cause anger and hostility with their presence and raise her profile beyond a safe and acceptable level. RSO stressed that it was necessary to hire a Pakistani protective services team that understood the indigenous environment, the cultural implications, the physical location, the political issues, and had contacts with Pakistani police and intelligence. RSO then told Wallace
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and Zia he had prepared a list of the three biggest full-service Pakistani protective services companies with offices in Karachi. RSO discussed the three companies, strengths and weaknesses and told them this would be the proper and most efficient and effective way to handle her security.
7. (C) Wallace told RSO this was what he needed to hear and thanked RSO for the time, guidance and the list of names.
8. (C) On October 27, Ambassador and DCM met with National Security Advisor Tariq Aziz and reiterated the government,s responsibility for Bhutto,s security. Aziz assured us the government was doing everything possible to provide for her security (and we are working closely with GOP through other channels to support those efforts) and the issue regarding her armed personnel would be resolved directly with her. Bhutto will meet with the new head of Pakistan,s Inter Services Intelligence, General Nadeem Taj. Additionally, Aziz and General Hamid Javid, Chief of Staff to the President, will travel to Karachi to meet with her. Embassy will also meet with the Ministry of Interior to reiterate our offer of forensic and technical assistance through law enforcement, rather than intelligence, channels. RSO will return to Karachi this week to meet with police contacts.
9. (C) Comment: Even with support from the government, serious threats against Bhutto will persist, just as they have against other Pakistani leaders, including the President, Prime Minister, and most recently, the Minister of Interior. End Comment.