Celebrating 25 Years of Scoop
Special: Up To 25% Off Scoop Pro Learn More



Cablegate: Scenesetter for Fbi Director Mueller's February 24


DE RUEHME #0614 0501538
O R 191538Z FEB 10




E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/22/2030

Classified By: DCM Gerald M. Feierstein, Reasons 1.4 (b)/(d)

1. (C) Summary: Embassy Islamabad warmly welcomes your
February 24 visit to Pakistan. You will participate in a
trilateral cooperation meeting with Pakistani Interior
Minister Rehman Malik and Afghan Interior Minister Hanif
Atmar, followed by bilateral meetings with senior Pakistani
officials, including Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)
Director General Zafarullah Khan, Intelligence Bureau (IB)
Director General Javed Noor, and Inter-Services Intelligence
(ISI) Director General Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

2. (C) You should express to your Pakistani interlocutors
appreciation for ongoing law enforcement cooperation and
express our readiness to enhance such efforts. You may want
to register U.S. concerns about terrorist threats to U.S.
citizens and U.S. interests that emanate from Pakistan, and
encourage continued Pakistani action to counter these
threats. You should press the Pakistanis to follow through
on their prosecution of the seven Mumbai defendants. End

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Domestic Overview

3. (C) Pakistan continues to face extraordinary challenges on
the security and law enforcement front. The country has
suffered greater military, law enforcement, and civilian
casualties in fighting extremism and terrorism than almost
any other country. Pakistan's military is currently engaged
in combat operations against militant groups in the Malakand
Division of North West Frontier Province (NFWP) and six of
the seven agencies of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
(FATA) along the Pak-Afghan border. At the same time,
Pakistan has experienced an alarming increase in terrorist
attacks against government and civilian targets in Pakistan's
major cities, resulting in several hundred deaths in recent
months. In your meetings, you should acknowledge the
sacrifices made by Pakistan's law enforcement agencies and
the pressure the terrorist attacks have placed on their

4. (C) In the midst of this difficult security situation,
Pakistan's civilian government remains weak, ineffectual, and
corrupt. Domestic politics is dominated by uncertainty about
the fate of President Zardari. He enjoys approval ratings in
the 20 percent range and has repeatedly clashed with key
power centers, including the military, politically ambitious
Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, and opposition
leader Nawaz Sharif. In December, the Supreme Court ruled
unconstitutional the November 2007 National Reconciliation
Ordinance, promulgated by then-President Musharraf, which
provided legal amnesty for Benazir Bhutto, Zardari, and key
figures in their party, enabling them to participate in 2008
elections. The Court's ruling has paved the way for a
revival of corruption cases against a number of officials,
including Interior Minister Rehman Malik. Whether corruption
cases can be revived against Zardari himself is less certain,
as Pakistan's constitution includes a clause providing
sitting presidents with criminal immunity.

5. (C) While we have had major successes in our military and
law enforcement cooperation with Pakistan, cooperation has
frequently been hampered by suspicion in Pakistan's military
and intelligence establishment about U.S. intentions and
objectives. Among other things, the Pakistanis believe that
we have favored India over Pakistan -- most notably, by
approving civil-nuclear cooperation with India -- and that we
aim to dismantle Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, which,
in light of their conventional military disadvantage
vis-a-vis India, they consider critical to their national
security. The military and intelligence establishment is
also concerned that we are working with Pakistan's civilian
leadership to limit the military's prerogative in determining
Pakistan's national security policies. As a result of these
concerns, the military and intelligence establishment has
taken steps since Spring 2009 to hamper the operations of the

ISLAMABAD 00000416 002 OF 004

Embassy. These steps include holding up the issuance and
renewal of Pakistani visas for permanent Embassy staff and
TDYers; denying import permits for armored vehicles for
Embassy use; sabotaging our contract with DynCorp
International to provide enhanced protective support for
Consulate General Peshawar personnel; slowing down
importation of U.S. assistance for the Pakistani government,
including equipment for Pakistani law enforcement agencies;
shutting down our Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) training
program at Pakistan's Sihala Police Academy; putting up
roadblocks for our acquiring additional land for the
Embassy's expansion; and harassing Embassy personnel by
stopping and detaining Embassy vehicles. Some of these
problems have recently abated in response to our repeatedly
raising them with the highest levels of the Pakistani
government. However, we expect we will have to continue to
push back against such impediments for the foreseeable future.

Federal Investigation Agency

6. (C) The FBI's primary Pakistani counterpart is the Federal
Investigation Agency (FIA). On December 7, the government
replaced FIA Director General Tariq Khosa with Zafarullah
Khan. While Khosa was ostensibly given a promotion by being
named Secretary of the Ministry of Narcotics Control, a
number of press reports maintained that Khosa was removed
from his FIA position for his aggressive pursuit of
corruption cases against government officials and
businessmen. Khosa had developed close cooperation with the
U.S. on a host of law enforcement issues, including on the
Mumbai case. While Khan has a strong law enforcement
background, he has not shown an inclination to be as
forward-leaning on cooperation as Khosa was.

Counter-Terrorism Finance

7. (S) In the past year, Pakistan has made steady progress in
combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Earlier this year, the FIA partnered with the State Bank of
Pakistan to crack down on large licensed and unlicensed money
service businesses that were violating foreign exchange laws
and contributing to money laundering. In January, the
National Assembly passed new Anti-Money Laundering (AML)
legislation; the bill is currently awaiting Senate action.
In the interim, the legislation is in force through its
promulgation as an ordnance signed by President Zardari.
Separately, during a February 12 meeting in Islamabad,
Assistant Treasury Secretary David Cohen provided the
Pakistanis with a compilation of tearline information on the
financial activities of terrorist organizations in Pakistan
-- including their use of the formal financial sector -- and
affiliated charities, businesses, and individuals. Cohen
encouraged the Pakistanis to exploit these leads in the
pursuit of additional inform
ation to identify key terrorism donors, fundraisers, and
financial facilitators. Cohen also passed declassified
terrorism finance information to four Pakistani banks.

Law Enforcement Assistance

8. (SBU) Pakistan's terrorism threats necessitate substantial
strengthening of the country's law enforcement capabilities.
The State Department's International Narcotics and Law
Enforcement (INL) Bureau is providing significant training,
equipment, and infrastructure assistance to the police in
North West Frontier Province (NWFP), i.e., the province most
affected by terrorist attacks. This assistance -- $40.5
million in FY2009 and $34.6 million in FY2010 -- focuses on
the NWFP police's Elite Force, a "heavy" police force with
SWAT-like capabilities established in 2008. Equipment we
are providing the Elite Force includes vehicles, armored
personnel carriers, protective vests, night vision goggles,
and communications gear. We are hardening police checkpoints
with Hesco-like barriers and are rebuilding three police

ISLAMABAD 00000416 003 OF 004

stations in NWFP's Malakand Division that were destroyed by
militants. INL is also funding a variety of police training
courses implemented by the Department of Justice's ICITAP
program that are open to nationwide participation.

9. (C) The Department of State's Anti-Terrorism Assistance
(ATA) program has separate activities aimed at enhancing the
counter-terrorism capabilities of Pakistan's law enforcement
agencies. A key component of the ATA program is focused on
"hard skills" tactical training, including explosives
detection and disposal, quick reaction, and VIP protection.
Unfortunately, the ATA program is now under threat of
termination. Following false press reports that our ATA
trainers are using the training center provided by the
Pakistani government, i.e., the Sihala Police Academy, for
nefarious purposes -- including to gather information on a
nearby Pakistan nuclear installation -- the government has
decided to end our use of that facility and has not yet
provided an acceptable alternative site.

Mumbai Case

10. (C) Pakistan's prosecution of the seven suspects it
arrested in the Mumbai case -- i.e., Lashkar-e-Tayiba (LeT)
operatives Zakiur Rehman Lahkvi, Zarrar Shah, Al-Qama, Shahid
Jamil Riaz, and Hammad Amin Saqid, and terrorism financiers
Jamil Ahmed and Younos Anjum -- is proceeding, though at a
slow pace. The defense lawyers have aggressively filed
motions challenging varying aspects of the case. On November
25, an Anti-Terrorism Court finally framed the charges
against the seven defendants, allowing the court proceedings,
which are being held in camera, to move to the trial phase.
Four FBI expert witnesses are expected to be called to
testify for the prosecution. The government has continually
reassured us that the prosecutors will win convictions
against all the defendants after a trial lasting several
months, though it has a stronger case against the five LeT
operatives than against the two terrorism financers. There
are concerns that some of the convictions could be overturned
at the appellate level, where the courts set an extremely
high evidentiary bar. On October 12, a Pakistani court
quashed all remaining cases against Hafiz Saeed, the head of
LeT alias Jama'at-ud-Dawa (JuD). Those cases were not
related to the Mumbai attack. The government has repeatedly
told us that it would need much more evidence of Saeed's
direct involvement in the Mumbai attacks to move forward with
Mumbai-related charges against him.

David Coleman Headley

11. (S) In December, an FBI-DOJ team briefed Pakistani
officials from the ISI, Ministry of Interior, FIA, IB, and
MFA on the David Coleman Headley investigation, providing
them with tear-line information on Headley's statements to
U.S. authorities. ISI officials said they had very little
information to identify the Pakistanis mentioned in the
statements. They discussed their investigation into First
World Immigration Service, a business front used by Headley
and his co-conspirators. The ISI said while they would not
grant direct FBI access to co-conspirator Major (retd.)
Abdurrehman Syed, who was in ISI custody, the FBI could
submit questions for Syed through the ISI. The FIA and
Ministry of Interior informed the FBI that it would be
difficult to introduce Headley-related evidence in the
government's prosecution of the Mumbai defendants, including
because Headley's statements to U.S. authorities would be
treated as hearsay with little evidentiary value in court.

Sargodha Five

12. (C) The Pakistanis continue to pursue their own case
against the five American citizens from Northern Virginia who
were arrested in Sargodha, Punjab province, on December 8,
following suspicions they had travelled to Pakistan to engage

ISLAMABAD 00000416 004 OF 004

in jihadist activities. They have not acted on our request
that the five be returned to the United States. The
Pakistani prosecutor has repeatedly asked for continuations
in the case because he is not yet prepared to move forward
with charges. The five suspects, who claim to have been
abused while in custody, were denied bail at a February 16
court hearing. The next hearing will take place sometime in

Aafia Siddiqui

13. (C) There has been widespread condemnation here of the
February 3 guilty verdict against Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a
Pakistani citizen who was tried in Federal Court in New York
on charges of attempting to murder U.S. soldiers and law
enforcement authorities in Afghanistan. Many Pakistanis were
taken by surprise by the verdict because one-sided Pakistani
media coverage of the case reported only on her defense and
not the prosecution's case, leading local observers to
conclude her acquittal was a near certainty. We have
stressed to the Pakistanis that Siddiqui received a fair
trial and has a right to an appeal. A number of our
Pakistani interlocutors have suggested that President Obama
consider pardoning Siddiqui, and Prime Minister Gilani told
Senator Kerry on February 16 that Siddiqui should be
transferred to Pakistan to serve out her sentence here.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.