Leaked Defense Department files from the controversial website WikiLeaks.org appear to confirm that Pakistan’s ISI spy agency attempted to poison at least one contractor using alcoholic beverages. The incident happened in June 2007 but the bizarre story was recently lent credence by a leaked intelligence warning issued in February 2007 that ISI tried to poison American personnel.
Here’s how the plot unfolded. In February 2007, American geologist and key figure in Afghanistan’s multi-billion dollar mining interests James Yeager returned to his Kabul residence to find it had been burglarized. Intruders took money from a drawer and, bizarrely, left behind a single bottle of Corona on his counter. Since Mr. Yeager isn’t a fan of Corona, it sat on the counter for two weeks, until he opened it during a going-away party as other drinks ran low.
He told the Christian Science Monitor, “I pulled it out and when I popped it there was no fizz and the cap was loose. Because this one didn’t have fizz you wonder if it went rancid or not, and I just kind of sniffed it and I went ‘Oh, that doesn’t smell like beer.’ ”
As a geologist, he recognized the smell as sulfuric acid, a highly toxic and corrosive substance commonly used in car batteries, and poured it out in the toilet, where it “fizzed,” leaving “no question” in his mind as to whether it was sulfuric acid.
The attempt on Yeager’s life may have resulted from his role in bidding for the Anyak copper deposit, which was awarded to a Chinese mining concern. Before his departure in 2007, he urged the Afghan government to reconsider its award. In 2009, he authored a report critical of the bidding process, alleging that the Afghan Mining ministry did not operate transparently and that Chinese firms do not have to play by the same anti-bribery rules as American competitors.