Former Pakistan ambassador to the United States (US) Husain Haqqani has retained Washington-based attorneys to investigate and consider pursuing defamation claims against American weekly news magazine, Newsweek.
Earlier on December 3, Newsweek had published an article written by Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz on the Daily Beast website, which had alleged that Haqqani had prior knowledge of a “stealth mission to eliminate [Osama] bin Laden that would violate Pakistan’s sovereignty” and of having a role in a memo written by the businessman.
Haqqani has retained Steven K Barentzen and R Kenly Webster to find out if Newsweek and Ijaz had made these statements with malicious intent or whether they acted with disregard for the truth, and if so, whether to pursue claims against them for the “damages these allegations have done” to Haqqani.
The former ambassador had earlier denied these allegations and termed them “reckless, baseless and false”. In a letter to the editor of Daily Beast/Newsweek, Haqqani had said
In the strongest terms possible, I categorically reject as reckless, baseless and false the allegations levied against me by Mansoor Ijaz about prior knowledge of US plans for a raid in Abbottabad in violation of Pakistani sovereignty to eliminate Osama bin Laden as well as his earlier charges [of having a role in the memo Ijaz wrote].
US government officials – including President Barack Obama, US Ambassador Cameron Munter and others, have reiterated that the Government of Pakistan was not informed May 2 Abbottabad raid in advance.
A statement released by The White House had said
There is no truth to the reports that Ambassador Haqqani or President Zardari had advance knowledge of the May 2 Abbottabad operation. As we’ve said repeatedly, given the sensitivity of the operation, to protect our operators we did not inform the Pakistani government, or any other government, in advance.
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