Sources: Panetta Confronts Pakistan Over Collusion With Militants

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Jim Young / Reuters

Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta listens to questions as he testifies at his Senate confirmation hearing to become the U.S. Secretary of Defense on Capitol Hill, Washington June 9, 2011.

The troubled relations between Washington and Islamabad are undergoing further strain. CIA chief Leon Panetta traveled to the capital of Pakistan on Friday to confront that country's powerful military leadership with evidence of suspected collusion with pro-Afghan Taliban militants in the tribal areas, sources familiar with the discussion revealed to TIME.

According to the sources, the CIA chief, who will soon succeed Robert Gates as U.S. Secretary of Defense, was in meetings late on Friday with Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and his intelligence chief, Lieut. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI).

The sources said that Panetta shared with the Pakistani generals a 10-minute edited video that shows the militants evacuating two bomb factories in Waziristan. One of the factories is based in Miranshah, North Waziristan. The other factory is in South Waziristan. The militants in North Waziristan are believed to belong to groups led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Sirajuddin Haqqani. Both militant leaders have attacked U.S. and NATO troops across the border in Afghanistan, and enjoy non-aggression pacts with the Pakistan Army.

According to the sources, Panetta alleged that the militants were tipped off within 24 hours of the U.S. sharing information on the facilities with the Pakistanis. When Pakistani troops later arrived at the scene of the two bomb-making facilities, used for the manufacture of improvised explosive devices, the militants were gone. The sources tell TIME that the CIA believes elements within the Pakistani security apparatus had informed the militants that they would be targeted.

The video, say the sources, was made up of satellite images. Those who have seen the video said that it was a "clear" and "explicit" demonstration of the militants leaving the two sites. Before Panetta travelled to Islamabad, the video was shown to congressional leaders, including the U.S. Senate's committees on intelligence.