CIA 'Thought Pakistan Poisoned Spy Chief'

He had to leave after 2011 medical crisis
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2016 2:20 AM CDT
CIA 'Thought Pakistan Poisoned Spy Chief'
Pakistani protesters burn an effigy of American CIA employee Raymond Allen Davis during a 2011 rally in Lahore.   (AP Photo/KM Chaudary)

The relationship between the CIA and its Pakistani counterpart around the time of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden wasn't just bad, it may have been murderous, sources tell the Washington Post. Mark Kelton, the CIA's Pakistan station chief in 2011, was violently ill with unexplained stomach pains so much of the time that he and plenty of other officials suspected that he had been poisoned by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, sources including current and former US officials say. The officials say that the ISI chief at the time hated Kelton so much he refused to even speak his name—and Kelton told agents to go by "Moscow rules" and treat the Pakistani spy agency as a foe, not an ally. Kelton eventually left Pakistan after what one official describes as a "severe medical crisis."

Kelton's brief time as station chief in Pakistan was a very turbulent one and included dozens of drone strikes, as well as the bin Laden raid and the shooting of two Pakistanis by CIA contractor Raymond Davis, which happened just 48 hours after Kelton arrived in the country. Kelton has now retired from the CIA and his health has recovered. He tells the Post that the suspicion of poisoning didn't originate with him, but he wants to let "that whole sad episode" lie. "I'm very, very proud of the people I worked with who did amazing things for their country at a very difficult time," he says. "When the true story is told, the country will be very proud of them." (WikiLeaks revealed that the US military has considered Pakistan's spy agency an al-Qaeda support group since at least 2007.)

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