A stunning new report showed how Pakistan’s top spy agency may have secretly poisoned a CIA chief in the days and weeks after the U.S. raid that killed Usama Bin Laden in 2011.
According to report from the Washington Post, the now-retired CIA station chief in Pakistan, Mark Kelton, had come down with a mysterious illness that left him in severe pain. Current and former U.S. officials told the newspaper they suspected poisoning after attempts to treat him outside Pakistan failed.
“Mark Kelton retired from the CIA, and his health has recovered after he had abdominal surgery. But agency officials continue to think that it is plausible — if not provable — that Kelton’s sudden illness was somehow orchestrated by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, known as the ISI,” The Washington Post said in an exclusive investigative report.
Those officials said Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, harbored grudges against diplomats, journalists and other people the country considered opponents. They said the head of the ISI, Ahmed Shuja Pasha, referred to Kelton as “the cadaver” instead of using his actual name.
Navy SEALs were credited with the raid on Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound that left the world’s most wanted terror leader dead in May 2011. The United States’ already-fragile relationship with Pakistan took a big hit in the following days when Pakistani police arrested a doctor who reportedly helped the CIA track down Bin Laden. Investigators said Dr. Shakeel Afridi set up a fake vaccination campaign to collect DNA samples from relatives of the terror boss.
After presiding over bin Laden raid, CIA chief in Pakistan came home suspecting he was poisoned by ISI
Kelton reportedly left Pakistan after just seven months. He regained his strength after doctors performed abdominal surgery, according to the Post.
The retired CIA chief said he was not the first person to suspect he’d been poisoned, but added, “I’d rather let that whole sad episode lie.” Nadeem Hotiana, a spokesman for the Pakistan Embassy, called the claims “fictional.”
Meanwhile, a CIA spokesman said there is no evidence that Pakistani authorities poisoned a US official serving in the country.
The spokesman said the agency had uncovered no direct evidence of poisoning. But the U.S. previously accused the ISI of staging raids to cover up the deaths of some militants, and linked Pakistani intel to the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.
The newspaper reports it named Kelton because he’d posted parts of his CIA resume online.