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Move Over Wikileaks: Pakistani Lawyer Outs the CIA Chief of Station

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Friday, December 17, 2010 at 6:43 PM

[updated to remove/fix typos...]

Mark Mazzetti and Salman Masood for the New York Times report an immensely disturbing development in Pakistan.  A Pakistani lawyer named Mirza Shahzad Akbar has filed a complaint with Pakistani authorities requesting legal action against the CIA’s Chief of Station (“CoS”) in Islamabad, on behalf of a man whose brother and son may have been killed in a drone strike there.  The thing is, the complaint actually identifies the CoS by name, and the Times reports that as a consequence of the outing the CoS had to be recalled–surely to the detriment of the CIA’s critical activities in Pakistan.

Akbar apprarently has indicated that he also plans to file suit in the United States.  He might not want to do so in person, though; Akbar cannot likely be prosecuted under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (though 50 USC 421(c) looks on point at first blush, Akbar is not a U.S. citizen or a lawfully-admitted alien and hence extraterritorial application of the IIPA would be problematic under 50 USC 424).  But perhaps this can launch a new round of Assange-style speculation about more creative charging options…

Giving the affair still more of a lawfare-ish angle, note that the Times also raises the possibility that Akbar got the name of the CoS from Pakistan’s ISI.  That in itself is deeply disturbing, but still more so is the suggestion reported in the Times to the effect that ISI might have exposed the CoS at least in part in response to the ISI being named as a defendant in an Alien Tort Statute suit filed last month in Brooklyn in connection with the Mumbai attacks.  That suit — Rosenberg v. Lashkar-e-Taiba, et al. — alleges a variety of wrongful death and personal injury claims predicated on ATS and 18 USC 2333, among other things.  The complaint in Rosenberg is posted here.

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