*WASHINGTON: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has said that Pakistan is a key partner in counterterrorism operations.*
“We work very closely with our Pakistani counterparts”, FBI Deputy Director for International Operations George Piro told a briefing arranged for foreign journalists here at Foreign Press Centers.
“Terrorism is the FBI’s number one priority, not only here domestically but internationally and we work very closely with all of our international partners,” the deputy director of FBI said.
To a question about FBI operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Piro refused to provide details but said “we recognize Pakistan as a key partner, majority of our effort is devoted towards counterterrorism, not only protecting US citizens, US interests but also providing assistance, support, engagement to our foreign partners”.
“It’s a collaborative effort and we have been engaged in that partnership for years and it’s been consistent and determined,” he said. He added that FBI agents were based in Pakistan and Afghanistan and working closely with the counterparts.
To a question about “zero tolerance” policy of FBI on child pornography, Piro said that FBI International Division was aware about the Zenab incident in Pakistan. “We are sending experts in our “Crimes against Children” program and we are confident that exchange will assist — not only in investigation but prevent future incidents from occurring”.
To another query, he said that 600 FBI personnel were permanently stationed overseas and on any given day they could have another 600 on assignment.
About the security of US citizens during FIFA World Cup, the deputy director said that FBI expanded its office in Moscow during the World Cup not only to protect the US citizens but to also assist ther counterparts.
“The largest attendees and purchasers of tickets to the world cup were Americans, we have folks in Moscow working with our counterparts to provide any assistance and information so they are able to address any potential threats to the event and venues”.
Piro, who interrogated former Iraqi President Saddam Hussain, told a questioner that “I didn’t realize I was being considered for that assignment. I just got a call that said ‘you have just been selected to interrogate Saddam Hussain’, so you can imagine my shock and surprise at that.
“Saddam Hussain only spoke Arabic, so the interrogator had to be able to speak Arabic for the interrogation to have any chance of success. I was part of the FBI’s first team to deploy into Iraq during the war, so I had an understanding of the regime, the history of Ba’ath party, Saddam Hussain, things like that”, he concluded.