Pakistan Outs Three US CIA Station Chiefs in Three Years
For the third time in three years, a CIA station chief has been outed in Pakistan, a country where the CIA is running one of its largest covert operations. It’s a remarkable record of failure by the CIA, since each outing, which has required a replacement of the station chief position, causes a breakdown in the agency’s network of contacts in the country.
The full names of all three station chiefs have been published widely in Pakistan and India and all over the world via the Internet—though Americans getting their news exclusively from domestic mainstream media wouldn’t know, as those organizations have consistently blacked out the names.
The latest outing was the work of a major political organization, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) and its founder, cricket star Imran Khan, who has been calling for an end to US drone strikes inside his country. Khan’s party came in second in Pakistan’s recent parliamentary election.
The PTI, angry that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has not demanded a halt to the US “targeted killing” of Pakistanis, filed a public complaint with police in late November.
Outed: Craig Osth:
That complaint, called a “nomination letter,” identified as the alleged CIA station chief Craig Peters Osth, and said he was residing and working—illegally, if actually working as a spy and not a diplomat —in the US Embassy.
In the complaint, the PTI accused Osth of being responsible for a deadly November 21 drone strike inside Khan’s home district, which is outside the Pashtun tribal area to which such attacks have normally been confined. The letter also called for the arrest of CIA Director John Brennan, accusing him of “waging war against Pakistan.”
US drone strikes are hugely unpopular in Pakistan, as they are seen as violating Pakistan’s sovereignty and and because they have killed a large number of civilians, including women and many children.
The CIA has refused to confirm or deny Osth’s role in the Agency, or even if he is on its payroll. But in this case the CIA’s standard stonewalling rings especially hollow: this is not Osth’s first outing.
In 1999 he was identified as the CIA’s station chief in Brazil by a Brazilian magazine, Carta Capital. At the time, the issue was the CIA’s reported bugging of the private telephone of Brazil’s then-president Fernando Henrique Cardoso.