Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pakistan Intelligence Infiltrates US Think Tanks?

Has Pakistan's intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) infiltrated US think tanks?  Here is what The Times of India has to say:
A prominent anti-establishment scholar in Pakistan has caused a flutter in Washington by suggesting that the country's spy outfit Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has infiltrated think tanks in the US capital.
Ayesha Siddiqa, a political commentator and former bureaucrat, whose expose of Pakistan's military-intelligence's stranglehold on the country was chronicled in her book 'Military Inc', shocked regional experts with a tweet on Thursday, relating how a Pakistani diplomat had confided to an American six years ago that the ISI had set up funds to infiltrate DC (Washington) think tanks and ''finally did it.''
"The only problem with this approach is they are sending unqualified people (mostly) to compete with Indians in the US,'' Siddiqa continued, adding, ''non-PhDs'' without any publication record will not be taken seriously in the US capital. She also named Moeed Yusuf, a senior Pakistan expert at the US Institute of Peace and Arif Rafique, an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute, in her tweets.
There has indeed been a perceptible increase in Pakistani experts in US think tanks and universities over the past decade, particularly after the country's association with the so-called war on terror, including its reputation as the haven for terrorists. Among the prominent Pakistani scholars in Washington DC are Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at Atlantic Council (who incidentally is the brother of former army chief Asif Nawaz Janjua) and several former Pakistani diplomats who have rotated in an out of the city.
Former Pakistan ambassadors to US such as Hussain Haqqani and Maleeha Lodhi have done stints at think tanks, as have former generals-turned-diplomats, notably Jehangir Karamat and Mahmud Ali Durrani. Siddiqa herself served as a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins University.
In 2009, Pakistanis helped raise money for a Pakistan studies ''chair'' at the University of Texas in Austin, named after a US Congressman who was a great fan and supporter of the country's role in the 1980s Afghan conflict, although he was disillusioned about the whole affair when he died in 2010.

In 2012 the Atlantic Council of the United States (ACUS) launched an Emerging Leaders of Pakistan (ELP) Fellowship to "support and empower the next generation of Pakistan's civil society leaders."

Spies at US think tanks are nothing new.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post about spy recruitment at think tanks.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on think tanks that foreign spies seem to prefer.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on former US spies and intelligence people who now work at US think tanks.

While there are 1,823 think tanks in the US, Pakistan has only 19 think tanks, according to the latest University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.