RAWALPINDI (Reuters) - Reports in the New York Times criticising the Pakistan Army and the powerful intelligence agency is a 'direct attack on Pakistans security, the army spokesman said on Saturday. Major General Athar Abbas, the Pakistan Armys chief spokesman, repeatedly criticised the Times reporting and said it was part of a calculated plan by 'unnamed officials to 'weaken the state. This is a direct attack on our security organisation and intelligence agencies, he told Reuters in a rare on-the-record in-person interview. We consider ISI as a strategic intelligence organization, the first line of our defence. Athar Abbas repeatedly criticised the Times reporting and said it was part of a calculated plan by the United States to 'weaken the state. Abbas was responding specifically to a July 8 editorial that said there was evidence of complicity by the ISI intelligence agency in sheltering bin Laden, of ties to the 2008 Mumbai attacks and of involvement in the abduction and murder of Asia Times Online journalist Saleem Shahzad. This whole reporting through media, quoting unnamed officials, anonymous sources, is part of a design to undermine the authority and the power of the organisation in order to weaken the state, Abbas said. He declined to specify exactly who the unnamed officials were, although the New York Times specified they were American officials. Abbas said there had been unease because of the bin Laden raid. We have taken certain measures, which we consider, are in the best national interest. We have also ordered a number of US military personnel to be reduced, to go back, because we consider these as non-essential personnel in certain areas, and theyve been asked to leave, he said. The ISI and CIA, he said, which have worked together for decades, should 'formalise their relationship. He said Pasha had asked them that the relationship between the two intelligence agencies should be formalised. It should be documented. It should not be open-ended. It should not be left to the other side to interpret the way they want to. He said the ISI wanted the United States to tell Pakistan about its intelligence operations and who it was sending into the country. The cross-border exchanges of fire on the Afghan border are also a source of concern, Abbas said. Afghan officials say nearly 800 rockets fired from Pakistan over the past month have killed 42 people, including children, wounded dozens more and destroyed 120 homes. There are insurgents on both sides of the porous and disputed border and it is extremely difficult to verify events. I think this report has been grossly inflated, exaggerated, Abbas said. During firing engagement of fleeing militants, a few rounds must have gone across and may have caused casualties. All the militants leaders have gathered there, and are reorganising their forces who cross over and attack our posts. APP adds: Athar Abbas rejected the allegations levelled against the Army and ISI by NYT, and described them as baseless and mischievous. Athar Abbas said in recent weeks the New York Times has continued to publish wild claims presented as news stories on the basis of information supposedly provided by unnamed US officials. He said in most cases such news reports have quoted anonymous US sources, bringing the veracity of their reporting into question. Recalling NYTs apology of March 2004 about some of its coverage of the Iraq war, General Abbas said at that time the newspaper had this to say: In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged - or failed to emerge. The military spokesman said: If the newspaper continues with its vilifying campaign without any concrete evidence, I am afraid at some point it may end up expressing its deep regret the way it did in the case of its Iraq coverage.