“We have a strong relationship with our Pakistani counterparts and work through issues when they arise,” said Marie E. Harf, a C.I.A. spokeswoman. “Director Panetta had productive meetings last week in Islamabad. It’s a crucial partnership, and we will continue to work together in the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups who threaten our country and theirs.”
In April, Pakistani officials, angry over what they saw as the United States' increasingly unilateral actions within their borders, demanded a complete halt to drone attacks in the northwest (which did not materialize). The demands came after months of deep tensions over Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor working covertly in the country who shot and killed two Pakistani men he claimed were trying to rob him. Pakistan said it had no knowledge of his link to the CIA prior to his arrest and were told he was a low-level US embassy employee.
The US sees sending drones to oust militants in the border region as one of its only options in the northwest, partially because the Pakistani military has resisted staging offensives in many key areas. When CIA Director Leon Panetta visited Pakistan last week, he pushed for Pakistani permission to let the drones fly over larger swaths of the northwest. Still, the US is already making contingency plans and preparing for the possibility of relocating the home base of some of the drones from Pakistan to a base in Afghanistan, the Times reports.