Admiral Mullen: Pakistani Government Sanctioned Death Of Reporter

The outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday that the Pakistani government had, at least, advance knowledge of the killing of an outspoken reporter:

The Pakistani government “sanctioned” the killing of a journalist last month, the top U.S. military official said Thursday, but he said he could not tie the death to the country’s powerful intelligence service.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the beating death of the Pakistani reporter, Saleem Shahzad, and the reported abuse of other journalists is not the way for a government to move ahead.

“It’s a way to continue to, quite frankly, spiral in the wrong direction,” said Mullen, who has spent much of his four years as chairman working with Pakistani officials and encouraging them to take more aggressive action against militants in havens along the border with Afghanistan.

Shahzad’s death was widely blamed on Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, but the ISI has denied involvement. His killing was followed a few weeks later by the beating of another Pakistani journalist by men wearing police uniforms.

Mullen, the first top U.S. leader to link publicly Shahzad’s killing to Pakistan’s government, has acknowledged the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Islamabad. On Thursday, in comments to the Pentagon Press Association, he said Pakistan is still reassessing its relationship with the U.S., an already fragile bond that was fractured by the U.S. Navy SEALs raid deep into Pakistan in May that killed Osama bin Laden.

And as of now, Mullen said, he is not sure how it will turn out.

U.S. officials have expressed growing frustration with Pakistan’s unwillingness to go after militants who are hiding in havens along the border and routinely cross into Afghanistan to attack U.S. and allied forces.

Even as Mullen and other U.S. leaders stress the importance of America’s long-term relationship with Pakistan, members of Congress are pressing to cut funding to Islamabad or make aid contingent on more aggressive efforts to go after insurgents.

So basically the government of an ally is sanctioning the murder of troublesome journalists. And, oh yea, they’re hiding al Qaeda militants, and they’ve sold nuclear secrets to North Korea.

Exactly how are they an ally again?


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    It’s getting so it’s hard to tell your allies from your enemies.

  2. Ben Wolf says:

    Mullen has the authority to leak classified information like this at will?

  3. The ironic thing is that Pakistani is doing all the things we keep accusing Iran of, yet the same people who tell us we can’t even talk to Iran also tell us that we can’t possibly stop giving Pakistan billions of dollars every year.