Outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has accused the Pakistani government of ordering the hit on Asia Times journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad. From the National Journal:
The United States believes the Pakistani government “sanctioned” the murder of a prominent Pakistani journalist who had been probing links between the country’s security services and its Islamic militants, said Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“It was sanctioned by the government,” Mullen told journalists at the Pentagon on Thursday. “I have not seen anything to disabuse the report that the government knew about this.”
Oddly enough, Mullen said that there was no evidence to prove that the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, the powerful military intelligence branch, was behind Shahzad’s assassination:
Mullen said he couldn’t confirm press reports that Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency had carried out Shahzad’s murder. An array of U.S. military and intelligence officials believe the ISI killed Shahzad to prevent him from continuing a series of investigative articles about the infiltration of militants from al-Qaida and other extremist groups into Pakistan’s military and intelligence services.
Mullen likely misspoke, as no one believes that President Zardari or Prime Minister Gilani would have ordered and executed the brutal murder of Shahzad. Mullen has been a firm supporter of the Pakistani military establishment and a leading advocate of close ties to Pakistan’s security and intelligence services, despite ample evidence the Pakistanis are complicit in supporting the Taliban and other terrorist groups and are thus complicit in the murder of US troops in Afghanistan.
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