- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A senior Democratic senator on Tuesday played down the significance of information contained in leaked documents that reveal collaboration between Pakistan’s intelligence agency and militants fighting in Afghanistan.

Sen. John Kerry said it was important “not to overhype or get excessively excited about the meaning of those documents.”

Mr. Kerry was speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Afghanistan.

He said the allegations of ties between extremists and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency were not new.

“We have been wrestling with these allegations … and we have made some progress,” the Massachusetts Democrat said.

Mr. Kerry, along with top officials in the Obama administration, repeatedly have raised those concerns in their discussions with Pakistani officials, civilian and military.

“This is not a sort of revelation,” Mr. Kerry said of the information contained in the documents.

WikiLeaks provided the New York Times, the British newspaper the Guardian and the German weekly Der Spiegel access to 92,000 secret military reports covering a period from January 2004 through December 2009.

The reports were written by military and intelligence officers, according to WikiLeaks.

The documents show that Pakistan permitted ISI officials to meet with Taliban leaders and plot attacks on U.S. troops and the assassinations of Afghan leaders.

Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, said the documents do not accurately reflect the situation on the ground.

Mr. Kerry noted that the documents “appear to be primarily raw intelligence reports from the field and as such, anybody who has dealt with those kinds of reports knows some of them are completely dismissible, some of them completely less reliable, some of them are very reliable.”

He said raw intelligence needs to be processed properly by people who can put things in context. “People need to be very careful in evaluating what they do read there,” he said.

• Ashish Kumar Sen can be reached at asen@washingtontimes.com.

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