We Distrust, Spy on Pakistan More Than You Think: Files

Snowden's 'black budget' shows 'no other nation draws as much scrutiny'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2013 7:49 AM CDT
Secret Files Reveal Intense US Surveillance of Pakistan
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, left, and visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry pose for a picture prior to their meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013.   (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

Included in the summary of the $52.6 billion "black budget" leaked by Edward Snowden: quite a bit of money spent keeping an eye on Pakistan. Despite the fact that Pakistan is technically a US ally, the documents reveal it is as much a target of US surveillance as al-Qaeda, North Korea, and Iran, so much so that the Washington Post begins its extensive look at the documents with this bold statement: "No other nation draws as much scrutiny across so many categories of national security concern." Of particular concern: intelligence gaps around Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. The US' security concerns on this front are so serious that one budget section focusing on the movement of such weapons divides the world in two: one category is Pakistan, the other is everyone else.

"If the Americans are expanding their surveillance capabilities, it can only mean one thing. The mistrust now exceeds the trust," says Husain Haqqani, who was Pakistan's ambassador to the US until 2011. Indeed, the documents show increased distrust and much more surveillance than has been officially disclosed, particularly in areas beyond the patrol of CIA drones. The US' main concern seems to be whether Pakistan can keep its own nuclear, chemical, and biological sites safe; the fear is that Islamist militants could attack or take control of these sites. The documents also allege human rights abuses by Pakistani military and intelligence officials, who are accused of ordering (or at least knowing about) extrajudicial killings of militants and terrorism suspects; the files indicate the administration decided to turn a blind eye. See the Post for much more. (Read more Pakistan stories.)

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