Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pakistan: FBI Agent Seemingly Detained, Charged After Attempting to Board a Flight to Islamabad

According to The Associated Press, police in Pakistan reportedly questioned a US FBI agent on assignment at length earlier in the week while participating in anti-corruption task force. 

Unfortunately, political harassment of US officials and contractors in not unexpected, given the fact that Pakistani officials have failed for forget the May 2011 execution of al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden.

The US agent arrived in Karachi on Thursday (May 1) and was detained by police on Monday (May 5) when he attempted to board an internal flight to the capital of Islamabad.

Police said they found live ammunition and three knives in the agent's possession, as well as electronic devices that were being examined.

COMMENT: If the FBI agent's status has been confirmed by the US Embassy, he should have been more cautious in terms of what he was attempting to carry aboard a flight to the capital, knowing how sensitive Pakistanis are towards US officials who visit their country.

Worse, the agent's laptop and other possessions have been sent for forensic analysis, which seems excessive for bilateral partners in counter-terrorism.

An official said the agent appears to have made a mistake and that there is no indication he was attempting to circumvent airport screening procedures.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the detention and said the US was coordinating with Pakistani authorities to resolve the matter, which says nothing.
"This individual detained is an employee of the FBI who was on a temporary duty assignment to provide routine assistance to the legal attache at the US Embassy," the spokeswoman said.

Pakistani broadcast networks aired footage Wednesday of police presenting the American in court Tuesday (May 6), which allowed the investigators to question him for four days. The footage showed the man in handcuffs while standing in the dock.

Obviously, if the FBI agent was detained and charged the matter hardly was "routine."

CIA contractor Raymond Davis shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore in January 2011. 

The US unilaterally killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in May 2011 and American forces accidentally killed 24 Pakistani troops along the Afghan border the same year. 

US drone strikes regularly anger Pakistanis.