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ISI ready to split from CIA

world Updated: Feb 25, 2011 01:06 IST

Pakistan’s ISI spy agency is ready to split with the CIA because of frustration over what it calls heavy-handed pressure and its anger over what it believes is a covert US operation involving hundreds of contract spies, according to an internal document obtained by AP and interviews with US and Pakistani officials.

Such a move could seriously damage the US war effort in Afghanistan, limit a program targeting al Qaeda insurgents along the Pakistan frontier.

According to a statement drafted by the ISI, supported by interviews with officials, an already-fragile relationship between the two agencies collapsed following the shooting death of two Pakistanis by Raymond Davis, a US contracted spy who is in jail in Pakistan facing possible multiple murder charges.

The statement accused the CIA of using pressure tactics to free Davis. “It is hard to predict if the relationship will ever reach the level at which it was prior to Davis episode,” it said.

The ISI fears there are hundreds of CIA contracted spies operating in Pakistan without the knowledge of either the Pakistan government or the intelligence agency, a senior Pakistani intelligence official told the AP in an interview..

The CIA repeatedly has tried to penetrate the ISI and learn more about Pakistan’s nuclear program.

To regain support and assistance, the ISI official said, “they have to start showing respect, not belittling us, not being belligerent to us, not treating us like we are their lackeys.”