Pakistan’s ISI: The True Deep State

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While the origins of the phrase may be traced back to Turkey, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) today represents the defining example of a “deep state.”

Historically responsible for coups, assassinations, domestic political manipulation, covert action, media suppression, torture, and “disappearances” across the country – particularly in Pakistan’s insurgency prone Baluchistan province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas – the ISI, has developed from a military intelligence organization focused solely on India into a mythological force of nature in Pakistan and its near beyond. In reality, however, the ISI presents much more of an enigma: although it is afforded significant power and authority, the reach and strength of the ISI isn’t always what it appears.

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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