Washington, Jul 24: Months before the FBI arrested Kashmiri separatist leader Ghulam Nabi Fai, it had forced a Pakistani Consulate official in New York, who spied on Pakistanis living in the US in a systematic ISI campaign, to leave the country.
Mohammed Tasleem, a clandestine operative of the spy agency ISI, had been posing as an FBI agent to extract information from Pakistanis living in the US and was issuing threats to keep them from speaking openly about Pakistan's government, The New York Times reported. His activities were part of what government officials in Washington, along with a range of Pakistani journalists and scholars, say is a systematic ISI campaign to keep tabs on the Pakistani diaspora inside America.
Tasleem collected information in a variety of ways, and that on at least one occasion he passed himself off as an FBI agent to get information from one Pakistani living in the US, an American official, who was briefed on the episode, told the Times.
The FBI brought Tasleem's activities to Leon Panetta, then the director of the CIA, and last April, Panetta had a tense conversation with ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha. Within days, Tasleem was spirited out of America - a quiet resolution typical of the spy games among the world's powers.
But some of the secrets of that hidden world became public last week when Kashmiri American Council director Fai, along with another man, working for a charity that the FBI believes is a front for Pakistan's spy service were indicted. 62-year-old Fai, a US citizen, was arrested by the federal agency last week on charges of being an ISI agent who lobbied for the ISI and Pakistan army on the issue of Kashmir.
The agency had filed a 43-page affidavit in a US court in connection with the indictment of Fai and another US citizen Zaheer Ahmad, 63, as agents of Pakistan. PTI