Aafia Siddiqui

The new head of the CIA National Clandestine Service, Francis “Frank” Archibald, is listed in the Wikileaks Cables as authoring a confidential report from the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan regarding the naming of the embassy legal attache in a detainee torture case. Archibald discloses his involvement in communicating with other U.S. officials regarding public statements and press reports concerning the case. Archibald was under cover as an official of the U.S. State Department at the time.

C O N F I D E N T I A L ISLAMABAD

SUBJECT: EMBASSY LEGAL ATTACHE NAMED IN CASE INVOLVING ALLEGED BAGRAM DETAINEE

Classified By: CDA Frank Archibald, Reasons 1.4 (b), (d)

¶1. (C) Summary: Islamabad attorney Javed Jaffrey filed a habeas corpus petition July 29 on behalf of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani national who allegedly has been held and mistreated at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility since 2004. The court July 30 ordered Interior Ministry Secretary Shah to report on her alleged detention on September 9. End summary.

¶2. (C) Islamabad attorney Javed Iqbal Jaffery (who also represents Pakistani nuclear scientist AQ Khan) filed a habeas corpus petition with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) July 29 on behalf of Aafia Siddiqui a Pakistani national. There have been a spate of press reports about Siddiqui following a July 6 press conference in which UK journalist Yvonne Ridley accused the U.S. of holding and perhaps torturing an unnamed woman in solitary confinement since 2004 at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility. The IHC ordered Interior Ministry Secretary Kamal Shah to report on Siddique’s status, but for now the court exempted the other respondents, who include the Embassy’s Legal Attach, President Musharraf, and former President Farooq Ahmad Leghari. The IHC adjourned the case until September 9.

¶3. (C) According to press reports, Jaffrey claims in the petition that U.S. operatives kidnapped Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, with her three children, in 2004 as part of an al Qaeda hunt. It also charged that the U.S. moved her to the Bagram Theater Internment Facility with the help of Pakistani authorities. Jaffrey also petitioned the IHC to ask the respondents whether Siddiqui had been killed in detention. If she is alive, Jaffrey wants her presented before the Court and given compensation for the illegal detention.

Archibald is not merely reporting back to superiors the facts of the case derived from public information. In a comment he offered in his report he discusses participating in the case by being involved in communication with U.S. officials at the Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan.

¶5. (C) Comment: It is unclear who is paying Jaffrey and/or orchestrating this campaign on Siddiqui’s behalf. Siddiqui has family living in Karachi and noted politicians, including Imran Khan, continue their vocal support for her cause. Bagram officials have assured us that they have not been holding Siddiqui for the last four years, as has been alleged. End comment.

The Aafia Siddiqu case that Archibald was involved with became controversial in Pakistan. The facts surrounding Siddiqui’s activities and arrest remain disputed and though she was eventually tried and convicted in New York City her case remains controversial due to questions surrounding her possible kidnapping, detainment, and torture by U.S. forces as well as disputes regarding forensic evidence and due process rights.

The extent of Archibald’s involvement with the case is unknown. Nor is it known what role Archibald played in other cases involving covert activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Previous to his assignment(s) in the Middle East Archibald was believed to be under official cover in the Malaysian Embassy as a Regional Affairs Officer for the State Department. Before becoming head of the National Clandestine Service Archibald was head of the Latin American Division.

Photo by Muhammad Siddiqui under Creative Commons license.