I’m bumping this post back up top, motivated by a request from JimPortlandOR about what I’ve learned that you’re not being told, since a) I think it got lost in the shuffle and b) it may be revealing…

 FORWARD OPERATING BASE SALERNO — The emails and comments pour in: what have I learned about U.S. activities in Pakistan? And really, that’s the big question. Over the last two weeks, not only has there been a reported cross-border raid with ground forces, there’s been an attempt at killing Jalaleddin Haqqani, a New York Times report that Bush greenlighted Special Forces raids into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the Pakistani Army chief of staff actually threatening action against U.S. forces in FATA and now Adm. Mullen’s attempt at smoothing things over. And what I’ve found out is… bupkes. For real, I’ve got nothing for you.

Rule number one here over the last two weeks has been: do not talk about Pakistan. Don’t talk about it amongst yourselves, and certainly do not talk about it with reporters present. The most common answer I’ve gotten when asking anything about Pakistan is I don’t know anything, and if I did, I couldn’t talk to you about it. Sometimes that’s been followed up by requests to go off the record, at which point I’ve learned crucial, confidential information like Pakistan is a big country to the east of Afghanistan and a bunch of bad guys come from there. Briefs from officers and NCOs to their soldiers about how to deal with me include warnings to "stay in your lane," which includes not saying, as a soldier apparently told Lara Logan of CBS — whom I ran into at the Salerno pax terminal very early this morning! — that U.S. troops can shoot into Pakistan at will. The exception to the no-Pakistan-talk rule has been unequivocal, repeated insistence that that report is untrue.

Seriously: if you have a consistent internet connection, you have a better sense of U.S. actions in Pakistan than I do. Total blackout here. Sorry. Wish I could tell you differently.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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