The New York Times today has kind of a crazy story out of Pakistan. A Defense Department employee, Michael D. Furlong, is accused of hiring contractors to gather intelligence on suspected militants in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan. That intelligence was then used to in lethal airstrikes against the suspects. "It is generally considered illegal for the military to hire contractors to act as covert spies," the paper says. It's not clear who acted as Furlong's boss.
Part of the work apparently involved setting up a website, AfPax Insider, which blogged about goings-on in the region. AfPax has sat frozen since last summer, with a Britney scoop (yes, that Britney), a post about counterfeit Oakley sunglasses and manlove, and another Afghan politics. We're supposed to "[s]tay tuned for the launch of AfPax Insider, home of exclusive AfPak-focused reports, interviews, imagery, and surveys." The About Us page is empty.
The Times reports that writer Robert Young Pelton teamed up with TV news guy Eason Jordan to run the site, which was supposed to have a budget of millions. In theory, their work would expand what the military and the public know about the region. In reality?
"We were providing information so they could better understand the situation in Afghanistan, and it was being used to kill people," Mr. Pelton said.