Abbottabad raid: ISI seeks credit for Bin Laden tip-off

By AFP
Published: April 28, 2012

The spy agency’s officials claim they handed over a cell phone number to the CIA that led them to the hideout. PHOTO: FILE

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s premier spy agency – the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) – believes it deserves credit for helping US intelligence agencies locate the hideout of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad nearly a year ago, The Washington Post reported on Saturday.

“The lead and information actually came from us,” a senior ISI official told The Post.

Washington and Islamabad are now working to repair their relationship, which was badly damaged by the revelation that the slain al Qaeda chief was living a stone’s throw from the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA).

“Any hit on al Qaeda anywhere in the world has happened with our help,” The Post quoted one of the Pakistani intelligence officials as saying.

The other official, who said he had been closely involved in the hunt for senior al Qaeda operatives, including bin Laden, said the ISI provided the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with a cellphone number that eventually led to an al Qaeda courier using the nom de guerre of Abu Ahmed al Kuwaiti, the paper said.

The officials said that in November 2010, they handed over the number to the CIA, along with information that it had last been detected in Abbottabad, the report said.

The ISI claimed it did not know then that the number was Kuwaiti’s, but the CIA analysts did, yet they did not relay that information back to the Pakistanis, The Post noted.

“They knew who the number belonged to,” the paper quoted one official as saying. “But after that, their cooperation with us ended.”

“It is the story of extreme trust deficit and betrayal,” complained the other ISI official, the paper pointed out.

However, a US official disputed the ISI version, The Post said. “The fact is, our knowledge of the number did not come from them telling us about it,” the paper quoted the US official as saying.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2012.

Reader Comments (50)

  • Ahsan Mlk
    Apr 28, 2012 - 12:34PM

    stab in the back. as always……

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 28, 2012 - 12:40PM

    The US got what intelligence it wanted then did not trust Pakistan.

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  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Apr 28, 2012 - 12:57PM

    Whom should one believe? Yes, one can question, why Abotabad report is not being shared with the public as was said before forming a Commission headed by Justice (retd) Jawed Iqbal.

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  • Ashraf P
    Apr 28, 2012 - 1:08PM

    Hehehe… even the most patriotic Pakistani would find this story a little hard to believe. If this is really the case, why arrest Dr.Afridi? He was also helping in arresting Osama.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Apr 28, 2012 - 2:02PM

    Yes after pvoviding shelter for few years !!!!! Yes i see elephants fly too !!!

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  • Arif Jamal
    Apr 28, 2012 - 2:17PM

    Oh come on! The super sleuths at ISI tipped off the Americans on the phone number and its location but were unable to see the big fortress in their midst where he lived?Recommend

  • Hamda imam
    Apr 28, 2012 - 2:26PM

    ISI was keeper the proof is that how come that great Dr. lost his his job if cooptive then why abbottabad comm was made to look out their failure to keep him safe?Recommend

  • FF
    Apr 28, 2012 - 2:30PM

    @Ashraf P: they arrested the Dr because he should have come to ISI in the first place rather than CIA. It is clear from the article above that ISI still didnt know about Osama’s actual location and if Afridi had come to them they could have got there first.

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  • Bhindian
    Apr 28, 2012 - 2:56PM

    This was clear day one that ISI helped US but US did what they do best…they backstabbed Pakistan.

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  • JK, Toronto.
    Apr 28, 2012 - 3:03PM

    Let us assume that ISI always speaks truth and this event is no exception. Then why Pakistan did not arrest BinLaden? Did ISI passed on the info to US before taking the govt into confidence?
    The only answer I can think of is that “Pakistan didn’t had enogh evidence against BinLaden.” If BinLaden was arrested and tried in a Pakistani court, he would have gone unpunished as the American evidence is not acceptable here.

    If I were BinLaden, I would have straightaway approached Lahore court asking for police protection as Hafiz sayed did.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Apr 28, 2012 - 3:14PM

    @FF:
    if Afridi had come to them they could have got there first.

    So that they could Relocate him, i suppose !!!!

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  • Hedgefunder
    Apr 28, 2012 - 3:20PM

    @Bhindian:
    This is more of a case of Pakistan shooting in their own feet, rather than being backstabbed !!!!
    If this is not the case, than how come the commision’s report has not been made public???
    We all know that this charade, will never see light of day !!!

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  • politicaly incorrect
    Apr 28, 2012 - 3:35PM

    So the millions of US$ offered on OBL’s head rightfully belongs to ISI.

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  • Breeze
    Apr 28, 2012 - 3:55PM

    @FF:
    That’s rather hilarious @ If Afridi had come to them they could have got there first.Its not about getting there its about capturing or better still executing the main Target Osama.I don’t think they have the resources to carry out that operation and if they did am sure they couldn’t have maintained that High level of Omata (Code of Silence) the Americans maintained.

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  • Breeze
    Apr 28, 2012 - 4:00PM

    I disagree with you @FF Even if afridi did get to the isi 1st.They wouldnt have been able to pull off that kind of covert action.Even if they did have the whole armory to combat Osama they sure cant maintain that high level of secrecy (omata) maintained by the CIA prior to the execution of Osama.

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  • G. Din
    Apr 28, 2012 - 4:07PM

    There are no takers for this!

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 28, 2012 - 4:39PM

    Most likely some person from the ISI gave a phone number to CIA hoping that that agency would get back with further leads. Meanwhile, the CIA got the Dr. and was able to trace the whereabouts of Osama. Then the CIA did it alone. In the meantime, the ISI got surprised since it did not know that the CIA could do it alone, even the operation itself. All this time, although officially the ISI might have not been aware of Osama’s hideout but it is still possible that someone in the ISI knew about it. The ISI took action against the Dr. since he was not to collaborate with the CIA without its approval. But these are only my hunches. Some theories hold that Osama had died earlier and his preserved body was flown to Abbottabad in a coffin and there was a mock operation. Perhaps the whole and only the truth might never be known as the biggest casualty of this event was the truth itself.

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  • adeel759
    Apr 28, 2012 - 5:04PM

    Its called “face saving”, but Uh Uh. Its utter nonsense that Pakistanis tipped US. Somehow this number ended up with ISI and they simply passed it on to US without any analysis. And it turned out to be ‘One in Billion’ numbers that made “May 2nd” Happen……….bravo Seal Team 6.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 28, 2012 - 6:28PM

    sad world of intellegence.

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  • adeel759
    Apr 28, 2012 - 6:37PM

    @Khalid Mahmood. If “Preserved Body ” theory is to believed, why would Team 6 leave OBL ‘s family behind (To spit the truth about this Mock ops). And why would ISI and Pakistan take all this embarrassment. My friend it is as US tells. Your personal Hunching is close to reality that some retired General knew abt his presence and those active in service did not and thats why they unintentionally passed this number to US not knowing even a bit that this belonged to a lead.

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  • kafir
    Apr 28, 2012 - 6:45PM

    @Khalid Mahmood- “Some theories hold that Osama had died earlier and his preserved body was flown to Abbottabad in a coffin and there was a mock operation.”

    I love Pakistan. Its full of gem like you !!!!

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  • Apr 28, 2012 - 6:51PM

    This is such an obvious lie!

    What Intelligence agency provides intelligence to a rival one, an untrusted one to attack its own Territory? Did they give and think CIA is not going to act on it? Rubbish..

    This is such an obvious lie, which no one can verify. An effort to make the best out of the embarrassing attack.

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 28, 2012 - 7:24PM

    @Adeel. The truth is probably not known to the public. Let us be careful about being gullible as each and every party describes the reality from the viewpoint of its own interest which may or may not coincide with reality.

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 28, 2012 - 7:26PM

    Theories about this episode abound. I am not sure which one is close to reality. I don’t think the whole truth is out.

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  • Cautious
    Apr 28, 2012 - 7:27PM

    What a load a bull. It’s a belated self serving statement to cover up what the entire World knows – that someone high up in Pakistan’s “establishment” had to be helping OBL. Classic Pakistani denial syndrome.

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  • Senman
    Apr 28, 2012 - 7:29PM

    ISI is the greatest spy agency in the world. One should believe ISI rather than the rest of the World.

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  • Indian
    Apr 28, 2012 - 8:18PM

    Finally the truth is out. Knew it from beginning.

    Hahahahaha..

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  • Indian
    Apr 28, 2012 - 8:34PM

    Now i doubt the ‘intelligence’ of the inter services intelligence……..

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 28, 2012 - 8:34PM

    Great game great players. world of gemmek.

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  • Cautious
    Apr 28, 2012 - 8:52PM

    So if the ISI had intel on where OBL was why didn’t they pick him up. This ISI statement is self serving and borderline absurd.

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  • Umer
    Apr 28, 2012 - 9:09PM

    WASHINGTON: The Inter-Services
    Intelligence agency (ISI) believes it
    deserves credit for helping US spy
    agencies locate the hideout of Osama
    bin Laden, who was killed by US
    commandos nearly a year ago, The
    Washington Post reported.

    Amazing. If ISI knew about Osama’s possible presence in Abbot Abad which did they not take him out themselves?

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 28, 2012 - 9:14PM

    @indian
    so many things will come once war is over and then the truth of 9/11 and many more.

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  • Raw is War.
    Apr 28, 2012 - 9:35PM

    @ Ali Tanoli

    so what is your angle? Raw was responsible for 911?

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  • Concerned
    Apr 28, 2012 - 9:53PM

    OBL was not hiding in Tora Bora mountains for which information was required to be passed on to US but living in its own backyard and once his presence came to light, the only action required was to arrest and hand him over to US. Why this action was not taken is quite unexplainable but the agency instead chose to tip the US off about his whereabouts, a claim which sans logic.

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  • Roflcopter
    Apr 28, 2012 - 10:10PM

    @Cautious, ISI never said they knew where Bin Laden was, if you wanna troll you need to try harder

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  • Hedgefunder
    Apr 28, 2012 - 10:10PM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    so many things will come once war is over and then the truth of 9/11 and many more.

    Which truth ? The one about, all the BS, Duplicity, Deceit, Denials, Creative Accounting for services not rendered,Sheltering Stratigic Assets ETC………
    The List goes on !!!!!!!
    These are the signs of Nation imploding from within !

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  • Ali Tanoli.
    Apr 28, 2012 - 10:40PM

    @Raw is wa,
    may be with partnership of kgb and mossad u never know.

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  • Mubashir
    Apr 28, 2012 - 10:49PM

    There were still a few days to the Anniversary of the Aabbottabad incident. This guy rushed. What harm would another few weeks do…haha..

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  • Babloo
    Apr 28, 2012 - 10:57PM

    Instead of hiding Osama in Abottabad, he should have been asked to approach Lahore High Court for protection as there is no ‘concrete evidense’ against him !

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  • sundar
    Apr 28, 2012 - 11:01PM

    Nice but shameless try.

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  • Super PAk
    Apr 29, 2012 - 1:44AM

    A little late in defending oneself isn’t it. ISI should have come up with this defense the moment it happened instead of going on a denying spree.

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  • How?
    Apr 29, 2012 - 1:50AM

    @Ali Tanoli.:
    ‘may be with partnership of kgb and mossad u never know’. UN mandated that OBL be bought to justice. By the way, when I say UN, is Pakistan a member?

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  • Apr 29, 2012 - 2:10AM

    @Ali Tanoli: feel sorry for you!

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 29, 2012 - 5:24AM

    ISI minimizes damage to Pakistan: Another speculative theory is that either Osama slipped into Pakistan with or without the knowledge of ISI to be later discovered in Abbottabad, initially by ISI alone. A special wing of the top Pakistan’s (most loyal and patriotic) institution thus came to face a problem, which was if the agency continued not to share this information and if CIA unearthed it on its own, Pakistan would face unacceptable consequences. On the other hand, revealing the whole of this information to CIA would render Pakistan liable to credible accusations. Thus, the dilemma was resolved and for minimizing the damage by sharing a phone number with the CIA to lead it to the target thereby ostensibly absolving the ISI of prior knowledge of Osama’s hideout. The phone number helped but CIA’s job was made easy by its find of Dr. Afridi. Nevertheless, the CIA hid this information from the ISI and went ahead with the operation to the chagrin of the partner, thus alienating it and widening the trust deficit. But all of this was probably scripted by the ISI to minimize damage to Pakistan.

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  • wow- really impressed
    Apr 29, 2012 - 7:20AM

    @Khalid Mahmood

    hahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Mirza
    Apr 29, 2012 - 9:29AM

    ISI can do no wrong even if they are caught with OBL or Mullah Umar. Why don’t the ISI claim the head money from the US, if they were the one to help locate him? Only Pakistanis can believe they won 1965 and 71 wars, Kargil, Ajmal Kasab is Indian, OBL is alive or was dead long ago, East Pakistan is still not independent and not making progress, and the list goes on and on.

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  • Hit-Man
    Apr 29, 2012 - 12:44PM

    @Mirza:
    You are spot on as always. I would not blame Pakistanis since they are fed with so much distorted history in their curriculam along with denials issued on hourly basis, which makes state the culprit and not the common man.

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  • Zeta
    Apr 29, 2012 - 3:23PM

    So these indian commentators THINK that they know better than intelligence agents particularly assigned is just hilarious and cringe worthy.

    These indians would belive Pentagon/CiA even after blatant lies one after the another but wont budge an eyelid when ISI says something. Anyway who really cares what they think.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Apr 30, 2012 - 2:23AM

    Does it mean that the ISI is claiming the $25 million bounty on Osama bin Laden?
    Perhaps Washington should pay this sum out to the ISI to make up for the fallout it had with Islamabad in the aftermath of the raid in Abbottabad a year ago.

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  • Liyaqat
    Apr 30, 2012 - 3:51PM

    Hehehe… even the most patriotic Pakistani would find this story a little hard to believe. If this is really the case, why arrest Dr.Afridi? He was also helping in arresting Osama…

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