WASHINGTON — The CIA station chief in Pakistan has been called home after his name was publicly revealed in legal documents by a journalist who says his relatives were killed in a U.S. Predator drone strike, a U.S. official said Friday.
The CIA officer, who remains undercover, is returning to the U.S. because "terrorist threats against him in Pakistan were of such a serious nature that it would be imprudent not to act," the U.S. official said.
On Monday, Karim Khan filed a police complaint saying that his brother and son, both government employees, were killed in a CIA drone strike on their home near Mir Ali in North Waziristan in December 2009. The complaint names the CIA station chief in Islamabad.
"He should be arrested and executed in this country," Khan said outside an Islamabad police station, according to news reports.
CIA spokesman George Little declined to address the matter directly, but said, "Our station chiefs routinely encounter major risk as they work to keep America safe... their security is obviously a top priority for the CIA, especially when there's an imminent threat."
Khan's lawyer, Shahzad Akbar, told the Los Angeles Times on Friday that he got the name of the CIA officer from two Pakistani newspaper journalists, and put the name in legal documents because he believes the man should be held accountable for civilian deaths caused by drone strikes in the tribal areas.
At a news conference in November, Khan said his 18-year-old son, Zaenullah Khan, and his brother, Asif Iqbal, were killed in the town of Mir Ali. The third victim was a mason who was staying at the house, he said. Khan said his son and Iqbal were teachers.
News organizations reported that three people were killed Dec. 31 in a missile attack in Mir Ali. Pakistani intelligence officials said then that the men were militants, but offered no proof.