The US has obtained classified intelligence that shows that Pakistan’s ISI spy agency ordered the killing of journalist Saleem Shahzad, senior administration officials tell the New York Times. Several officials say the intelligence is reliable and conclusive, with one calling the ISI’s actions “barbaric and unacceptable.” Shahzad, 40, disappeared on May 29 and later turned up dead, after writing a series of reports exposing the infiltration of Islamic militants in Pakistan's army.
In one article, he posited that al-Qaeda was behind an attack on a Pakistani naval base, a raid that he says followed the navy's arrest of a number of naval personnel who had belonged to an al-Qaeda cell. “Every indication is that this was a deliberate, targeted killing that was most likely meant to send shock waves through Pakistan’s journalist community and civil society,” one official said. The Times notes that US officials were reluctant to confirm the information, fearing that its very disclosure could damage already fraught US-Pakistani relations. The ISI has denied involvement in his death, telling the Pakistani media that such speculation was “totally unfounded.”