ISLAMABAD: The US Embassy in Islamabad issued a statement on Sunday countering Defence Secretary Leon Panetta’s statement about Pakistani officials being aware of Osama bin Laden’s hideout.
Defense Department spokesman George Little, in the statement, clarified that Panetta’s interview aired by CBS was old and was recorded at the time when the Defence Ministry was unsure whether the Bin Laden network was present in Pakistan or not.
Little further said that Panetta, in the same interview, had also said that there was no proof that Pakistani government and the higher authorities were aware of Bin Laden’s whereabouts.
He added that Panetta, along with other officials, are working for the betterment of ties with Pakistan that were strained after the US operation in Abbottabad that killed al Qaeda chief Bin Laden on May 2.
In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, Panetta said that he still believed someone in authority in Pakistan knew where Bin Laden was hiding before US forces went in to find him.
Intelligence reports found that Pakistani military helicopters had passed over the compound in Abbottabad, according to the interview.