NOTE: This comes from a Democracy Now story on the confirmation of USA Covert War in Pakistan in 2010. The Pentagon spokesperson for this matter is Geoff Morrell. John Terret is interviewing for Al-Jazeera.
The Nation today that puts Blackwater, now Xe Services, firmly at the center of a covert operation in Karachi in Pakistan, from an anonymous source within the military? And my question is--
JOHN TERRET: The question is, you keep denying covert operations in Pakistan, but isn't this yet more evidence of one?
JUAN GONZALEZ: Despite sustained denials by the Pentagon, the leaked embassy cables confirm that U.S. special forces have been secretly working with the Pakistani military to conduct offensive operations and coordinate drone strikes in the areas near the Afghan border. A U.S. embassy cable from October 2009 states that, quote, "The Pakistani Army has for just the second time approved deployment of U.S. special operation elements to support Pakistani military operations." The cable adds that allowing U.S. special forces to deploy in Pakistan represents a "sea change" in Pakistani thinking and happened, quote, "almost certainly with the personal consent of [Chief of Army Staff] General Kayani."
Another cable from Islamabad reveals the private support from the Pakistani leadership for U.S. Predator drone attacks inside Pakistan. In an August 2008 U.S. embassy cable, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is quoted as saying, "I don't care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We'll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it."
The Nation magazine last year by investigative journalist and JOHN TERRET: Does the Pentagon have any comment on a report in GEOFF MORRELL: Yeah, I guess I--
GEOFF MORRELL: OK, the best person to address this would be the State Department spokesman, who has already put out a statement or a correction, basically saying these accusations are entirely false. OK, but I--for more clarity, more specificity, I urge you to talk to them.
As for what we are doing in Afghanistan, or in Pakistan, rather, I think we have been incredibly forthright about this. And we have basically, I think, a few dozen forces on the ground in Pakistan who are involved in a "train the trainer" mission. These are special operations forces. We've been very candid about this. They are--they have been for months, if not years now, training Pakistani forces so that they can in turn train other Pakistani military on how to--on certain skills and operational techniques. And that's the extent of our, you know, military boots on the ground in Pakistan, despite whatever conspiratorial theories that, you know, magazines or broadcast outlets may want to cook up. There's nothing to it.