ISLAMABAD Agents of notorious spy agencies are using journalistic cover to engage themselves in intelligence activities in NWFP and FATA, sources informed TheNation on Wednesday.
To the surprise and shock of many, top bosses of Federally Administrated Tribal Area (FATA) Secretariat are allegedly feeding these journalists with secret reports and information regarding Pak Army and militant groups operating there.
Matthew Rosenberg, South Asian correspondent of Wall Street Journal, has been spotted travelling frequently between Washington, Islamabad, Peshawar and New Delhi during the last couple of months. His frequent and secret meetings with Secretary Law and Order FATA Secretariat, Capt (Retd) Tariq Hayat Khan, and Additional Chief Secretary FATA, Habib Khan, have raised several questions.
The sources alleged that both Tariq Hayat Khan and Habib Khan were equally responsible in facilitating and feeding Matthew about secret documents regarding Pak Army and sensitive information regarding ongoing operation against militants.
Despite the fact that Foreign Office and Interior Ministry have warned foreign journalists and foreign workers of NGOs not to visit NWFP and FATA, Matthew in a clear violation of this warning recently held a detailed meeting with Habib Khan that lasted for two hours and 17 minutes.
When contacted, Matthew Rosenberg confirmed to this scribe from New Delhi on phone that he had been meeting with Tariq Hayat Khan and Habib Khan since long, as he enjoyed good terms with them.
Yes I have been in Islamabad and Peshawar many times and Tariq Hayat Khan and Habib Khan are also close friends of mine. However, let me tell you that I am not working on any hidden agenda, Matthew said.
According to an official of law enforcement agency, who requested anonymity, Matthew was working as chief operative of CIA and Blackwater in Peshawar. The law enforcement agencies, he said, had also traced Matthews links with Israels intelligence agency Mosad as well.
Matthew has also tried to hire some individuals from Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan and Mianwali, and on refusal threatened some of them of dire consequences.
When contacted, Additional Chief Secretary FATA Habib Khan confirmed that he held meeting with Mathew in his office. Habib said Mathew was interested in getting details of militants, tribes and strategy of Pak Army operation against militants. I refused to share details with him, Habib said.
Journalists around the world, especially in Pakistan, condemn intelligence agencies for using journalistic cover, which, they say, makes their job difficult.
The CIA and other intelligence organisations around the world have in the past denied disguising intelligence operatives as journalists.
According to some media reports, 202 persons affiliated with notorious private military contractor Blackwater, later renamed as Xe Services LLC, arrived Islamabad on Tuesday through a PIA flight.
Former chief of army staff, Gen (Retd) Mirza Aslam Beig, has claimed that former president Pervez Musharraf had given Blackwater a green signal to carry out its terrorist operations in the cities of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Quetta.
According to IntelNews.Org that quoted former NSA analyst and US navy intelligence officer Wayne Madsen as saying, The CIA has deployed at least two operatives posing as journalists in several world hotspots after 9/11. These two operatives, both US Special Forces veterans, were subcontracted to the CIA by private mercenary company Blackwater.
However, the recent record shows that this is not so. Director of Belgiums State Security Service (SV/SE) in last February said that his agents required expanded investigative powers to combat the increasing presence of foreign spies in the country, many of whom operate under journalistic cover around the EUs headquarters.