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Who controls ISI, angry Bush asks Pakistan PM

July 31, 2008 18:25 IST

An "annoyed" US President George W Bush [Images] has confronted Pakistan Prime Minister over the leaking of intelligence, shared by Washington, to militants by the ISI and quizzed him on who was controlling the spy agency.

Pakistan, which has reacted angrily to recent calls for direct US military strikes or "hot pursuit" of militants thriving in its tribal areas, has been harping on the need for the American intelligence agencies to share information so that it can carry out operations against the extremists.

However, Bush during his meeting with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday said that Washington is reluctant to share intelligence with Islamabad [Images] because people in the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) are passing on such information to militants, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar was quoted as saying by Pakistani newspapers today.

Bush also expressed "concern and some annoyance" about the ISI's role in Pakistan, the minister told The News daily.
Bush also told Gilani and his delegation that the US believed the ISI had established deep ties with militants operating in Pakistan's tribal areas, some officials present in the meeting said.

The US President complained that intelligence shared with Pakistan was leaked by "certain elements" in the ISI to terrorists much before they could be attacked by American or Pakistani forces. This was a cause of concern for the US, Bush was quoted as saying by Mukhtar.

Bush was blunt about expressing American reluctance to share intelligence information with Pakistan, an official present at the meeting was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper.

"President Bush also asked who is controlling the ISI," Mukhtar said.

This was apparently a reference to the recent controversy over a move to place the spy agency under the interior ministry. The government notification in this regard was withdrawn after the powerful army and the Presidency objected to the move.




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