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Husain Haqqani (AP)

Pakistani Envoy Spars With ATC's Robert Siegel On WikiLeaks

Jul 27, 2010

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To get a sense of just how peeved the Pakistani government is at the renewed attention WikiLeaks has brought to lingering suspicions of ties between that government's intelligence and military officials and the Taliban, all you need do is listen to All Things Considered co-host Robert Siegel's conversation with Pakistan's Ambassador Husain Haqqani.

The ambassador sounded more than a little put out, to put it lightly.

In response to a question from Robert, Haqqani took on the persona of an irritated media critic:

HAQQANI: What is happening is, as the international media is investing less and less in reporting, everybody's conserving on their energy. So you get a little stuff like WikiLeaks and you then extrapolate from that. Then add to it some of the back stuff that you already have on file and make a story. The truth is, let people go into there today and find out what's happening on the ground now.

ROBERT: Let me put to you another document, this one is from May 2007.

HAQQANI: No I'm not going to address individual documents...

ROBERT: It says the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence, the Pakistani spy agency) sent a thousand motorcycles...

HAQQANI: I am not going to address individual documents for one very simple reason — I do not think that the very nature of these documents is something that should be addressed by either the U.S. or the Pakistani government. We have dealt with them as and when these documents were written. These are situational reports.

Robert: Ambassador Haqqani, since you've been insistent on what has happened most recently, there's a document that alleges that a thousand motorcycles were dispatched for motorcycle attacks in May 2007

HAQQANI: And what is the nature of the document? Please read the document from the top. My point is, you are constantly refusing to see the nature of the document.

ROBERT: No, i'm asking you about it, to comment...

HAQQANI: I don't know anything about the document and I don't consider this a reasonable discussion. My point is that the very nature of the document is that these are situational reports. What are situational reports?

Somebody at a 911 station is sitting down and writing every phone call he gets in. Now there is a war, this fog of war, that many people come in and report various things. Then of course, the U.S. military checks those facts.... If you can read to me a document that says that the U.S. military established for a fact that 1,000 people were trained in suicide bombing, then I will address that.

ROBERT: It was motorcycles, not people.

HAQQANI: Well, motorcycles. My point is that 1,000 motorcycles do not disappear from the face of the Earth just like that. So  what is happening is, somebody's reported it, somebody's brought it in and the person who's recording all of this is recording that.

It's a report. It's investigated. If the U.S. military thinks that it is valid, they talk to the Pakistani military, together we do something about the 1,000 motorcycles. One thousand motorcycles is a lot of motorcycles; 1,000 suicide bombers is a lot of suicide bombers.

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