US Looked the Other Way on Pakistan Rights Abuses

Feared Military's Killings Could Harm Aid Program

The latest round of revelations on NSA surveillance has centered on Pakistan, with most of the public attention going to the intense level of scrutiny the Pakistani government was under, particularly the nation’s nuclear program.

Perhaps the most shocking revelation isn’t what the NSA did, because at this point they’ve been caught spying on virtually the whole planet, but what they didn’t do when they gathered information about the Pakistani military and ISI’s extrajudicial killings: say anything.

Pakistan’s military has often been accused in the media of conducting extrajudicial kills and campaigns of intimidation against its perceived enemies, particularly in Balochistan. The NSA’s surveillance found evidence that the allegations were spot on, but because revelations of human rights abuses would’ve complicated the ongoing US aid program to Pakistan’s military, they let the matter slide.

At a time when the Obama Administration is already under scrutiny for overtly violating the law to keep military aid flowing to the Egyptian junta, the revelation underscores that aid distribution has a momentum of its own, and that pesky things like US law and basic human decency are no match for that momentum as far as this administration is concerned.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.