Pakistan's intelligence service has arrested the owner of a house rented to the CIA to observe Osama bin Laden's compound before the U.S. raid that killed the al-Qaeda leader, a U.S. official said late Tuesday.
The officials spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity while the Pakistani spy agency declined to comment.
Detained informants included a Pakistani army major who according to officials, copied the license plates of cars visiting bin Laden's compound in Pakistan in the weeks before the raid, reported The Times.
What happened to the CIA informants after the arrest was unclear, but American officials told the newspaper, that CIA Director Leon Panetta raised the issue when he visited Islamabad last week to meet with Pakistani military and intelligence officers.
U.S.-Pakistani relations have been cold over the raid by the U.S. Navy SEALs in Pakistani territory, which was a blow to Pakistan's military. Officials said the arrest of the informants was just the latest evidence of the fractured relationship between the two nations.
Michael Morell, the deputy CIA director, when asked by the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee to rate Pakistan's cooperation with the United States on counter-terrorism operations, on a scale of 1 to 10, said three.
American officials speaking to the Times cautioned that Morell's comment was a snapshot of the current relationship and did not represent the Obama administration's overall assessment.
We have a strong relationship with our Pakistani counterparts and work through issues when they arise, Marie Harf, a CIA spokeswoman, told the newspaper. Director Panetta had productive meetings last week in Islamabad. It's a crucial partnership, and we will continue to work together in the fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups who threaten our country and theirs.
Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, said in an interview with the Times that the CIA and ISI, the Pakistani spy agency, are working out mutually agreeable terms for their cooperation in fighting the menace of terrorism. It is not appropriate for us to get into the details at this stage.