FBI presence smaller than reported in Pakistani press
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: Robert Mueller, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said on Tuesday that the FBI presence in Pakistan was not what it was projected to be in the Pakistani press.
Replying to questions by Daily Times at the Foreign Press Centre, on the extent of the FBI presence in Pakistan, Mr Mueller replied, “We have a very small presence. We have a legal attaché office, which is a legal attaché and, you know, several assistant attachés. I will tell you that the press in Pakistan claims we have a much more substantial presence than is actually there. And we, as we do in every country, work under the auspices, or with our counterparts under their jurisdiction. So our presence in Pakistan is not much different than it is in many of the countries in Europe or South America or elsewhere.”
When Daily Times suggested that Al Qaeda could be more of a generic name than a real presence on the ground, Mr Mueller said, “As to Al Qaeda, I mean, one talks about Al Qaeda, if one means Osama bin Laden, but I think it’s fair to say, as I stated in my opening remarks, that yes, the sanctuary in Afghanistan has been taken away from Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda is more fragmented. But there are groups in many countries, cells who follow the preaching of Al Qaeda and Bin Laden. And, yes, it is far more difficult for them to operate; but nonetheless, there are a number of them that do operate.”
He said, “We’ve seen the bombings in Morocco. We’ve seen the bombings in Indonesia, the bombings in Saudi Arabia, Mombassa, even after Afghanistan was taken away as a sanctuary, and consequently, while, yes, the unified; structure that one saw in Afghanistan prior to our going in there is no longer unified you don’t have the training camps that you had there.”