Relations Strained Between CIA, Pakistan's ISI Lawyers for the CIA contractor being held in a Pakistani prison are preparing to defend him against possible murder charges. Raymond Davis was arrested in Pakistan after shooting two Pakistani men in Lahore earlier this year. U.S. officials say Davis has diplomatic immunity and should be released. But some in Pakistan say Davis is an example of how U.S. intelligence agents in Pakistan operate with impunity.
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Relations Strained Between CIA, Pakistan's ISI

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Relations Strained Between CIA, Pakistan's ISI

Relations Strained Between CIA, Pakistan's ISI

Relations Strained Between CIA, Pakistan's ISI

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Lawyers for the CIA contractor being held in a Pakistani prison are preparing to defend him against possible murder charges. Raymond Davis was arrested in Pakistan after shooting two Pakistani men in Lahore earlier this year. U.S. officials say Davis has diplomatic immunity and should be released. But some in Pakistan say Davis is an example of how U.S. intelligence agents in Pakistan operate with impunity.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

NPR's Rachel Martin reports that the case has made relations between the countries' intelligence agencies even more complicated. It has both sides asking the same question.

RACHEL MARTIN: And it's a pretty uncomfortable question to ask about a country that's supposed to be a close ally. But it's there, just under the surface, coloring how each side perceives the other.

D: Is the United States a partner - albeit a problematic one - or is it actually an enemy? And the same question is being asked, increasingly, of Pakistan. Is it a partner that's troublesome or is it, fundamentally, an enemy?

MARTIN: Here's Pakistani author and journalist Ahmed Rashid.

MARTIN: Once you have the CIA chief in Islamabad - or the station chief in Islamabad name known to the public, he can't really function. So there's been a lot of this cumulative cat-and-mouse game between the ISI and the CIA.

MARTIN: Robert Grenier used to be the top CIA officer in Pakistan.

MARTIN: I think the ISI is feeling embarrassed because this sort of underscores that the ISI, you know, doesn't have control over what foreign intelligence is doing in its country - or at least, it appears that way. And I think that they're very sensitive to that.

MARTIN: So Grenier says that may mean Pakistan's intelligence service will demand to know more about U.S. operations inside Pakistan.

MARTIN: In the past, the Pakistanis have shown a singular lack of curiosity about how the U.S. was acquiring information on which they would then ask the Pakistanis to act. And that aspect of the relationship may be starting to change.

MARTIN: Christine Fair, of Georgetown, agrees and thinks Pakistan may be using the Davis case to gain the upper hand.

D: But even if this doesn't completely break the relationship, it will, at the very best, create another space for leverage where the ISI can reassert itself and try to re-establish some ground rules for the relationship.

MARTIN: Christine Fair says the CIA and the ISI have totally different views on these groups. The CIA sees them as existential threats to America.

MARTIN: In contrast, the ISI sees these groups as existential assets, and so this is where our two countries are at absolute loggerheads. There's really no way of finessing this fundamental difference.

MARTIN: Rachel Martin, NPR News, Washington.

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