Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Mullen: Bad old ISI is cleaning up its act

Yesterday we reviewed how old Ahmed Gul, onetime head of ISI (the Pakistani intelligence agency) was denouncing his country’s civilian leaders as running dogs of the Americans. A few hours later, Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, gave his personal seal of approval to the efforts to reform the ISI. Appearing before ...

585607_090522_mullenb2.jpg
585607_090522_mullenb2.jpg

Yesterday we reviewed how old Ahmed Gul, onetime head of ISI (the Pakistani intelligence agency) was denouncing his country's civilian leaders as running dogs of the Americans.

A few hours later, Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, gave his personal seal of approval to the efforts to reform the ISI. Appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he said:

Yesterday we reviewed how old Ahmed Gul, onetime head of ISI (the Pakistani intelligence agency) was denouncing his country’s civilian leaders as running dogs of the Americans.

A few hours later, Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, gave his personal seal of approval to the efforts to reform the ISI. Appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he said:

I have had lengthy discussions, actually, with Pak civilian and military leadership, the military leadership is critical here and what I’ve watched and certainly expressed this concern and my belief has been for some time that I believe the ISI has to change its strategic approach in order for progress to be made over the long term.

What General Kiyani has done and the civilian leadership has done has changed out the leadership of that organization, almost the entire leadership, not just Pasha, but the principle directorates are all people that General Kiyani trusts. We’ve had this discussion. This has happened over the last six months.  

So I think this is going to take some time. The ISI is very supportive in ways and constructive in ways that we concur in. There are still challenges about connections with militants and their support of those militants as well, and I’ve constantly address those concerns, will continue to do that.

I sure hope he is right. He is placing a whole lot of faith — and his personal credibility — on the ISI getting on the right side of the equation.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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