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REUTERS
November 24, 2011
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Mullen was pushed to issue wrong denial by Haqqani

World

REUTERS
November 24, 2011

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ISLAMABAD: Admiral Mike Mullen’s initial denial about the receipt of the memo was said to be the consequence of Husain Haqqani’s persuasion as the former ambassador had intimated about this well before Mullen’s first reaction, it is learnt.
A credible source in the Presidency said a close aide of President Asif Ali Zardari was assured by Haqqani days before the issuance of Mullen’s denial that the retired admiral would contradict Mansoor Ijaz’s assertion that the memo was delivered to him.
However, later the old US admiral retracted his denial and issued a new statement in which he confirmed Mansoor Ijaz’s claim. The presidential aide told The News that Haqqani had assured the Presidency that Mullen would soon issue a denial, which would help end the controversy.
The Presidency spokesman and the just removed Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani were approached but none of them responded to The News question, sent to them through mobile SMS. The presidential source said the second statement of Admiral Mike Mullen was sort of a shock for the Presidency, which, the source claimed, was totally unaware of the existence of any memo.
Admiral Mike Mullen through his spokesperson had issued a statement on Nov 9, whereby he claimed he did not know the man (Mansoor Ijaz) who claimed to have delivered him a message from President Asif Ali Zardari nor did he recall receiving any correspondence from him.
“Admiral Mullen does not know Mr Ijaz and has no recollection of receiving any correspondence from him,” said a message from the former US military chief. Capt John Kirby, a former spokesman for the admiral, said Mr Mullen had asked him to release this message on his behalf.
Following Mullen’s denial Mansoor, however, contested that he did deliver the memo to Mullen through a US connection, who later turned out to be James Jones, former security advisor and retired US Marine Corps General. Ijaz also made public the evidence

available with him to prove his point following which Admiral Mullen came up with a second statement, which was a complete U-turn to his earlier statement.
On Nov 16, almost a week later after his initial statement Mike Mullen confirmed the existence of a secret memo alleged to have been sent by Pakistan President Zardari to him about a feared military takeover.
His spokesman in the final statement said, “Adm Mullen had no recollection of the memo and no relationship with Mr Ijaz. After the original article appeared on Foreign Policy’s website, he felt it incumbent upon himself to check his memory. He reached out to others who he believed might have had knowledge of such a memo, and one of them was able to produce a copy of it.” However, the spokesman said Mullen did not find it (memo) at all credible and took no note of it then or later.
Mullen though claimed that he did not take any notice of the memo then or later but no less than the Pentagon a few days after Mullen’s statement officially stated on Nov 19, “US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta (who was CIA chief when the memo was issued) was aware of the memo sent to Mike Mullen.” It is now for Mullen and Jones to decide as to who between them had conveyed “such an unimportant” memo to the then CIA chief. It is, however, worth mentioning here that Haqqani had admitted in one of his recent statements that he and Mullen are friends and have visited each other’s places. Haqqani also claimed in his chat with Mansoor Ijaz that Panetta was also his strong supporter.

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