'Somebody' in Pakistan knew of Bin Laden hideout: US

Published: May 19, 2011
Gates says there is no evidence that leaders in Islamabad were aware of Bin Laden's whereabouts, but somebody knew. PHOTO: FILE

Gates says there is no evidence that leaders in Islamabad were aware of Bin Laden's whereabouts, but somebody knew. PHOTO: FILE

WASHINGTON: “Somebody” in Pakistan knew about Osama bin Laden’s hideout but there is no proof that Pakistan’s political and military leaders were aware of it, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday.

Despite anger in Congress directed at Islamabad, Gates and the US military’s top officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, also warned against cutting off aid to Pakistan, saying Washington had important interests at stake and that the country had already been “humiliated” by the US raid that killed Bin Laden.

“My supposition is, somebody knew” about Bin Laden’s presence in the garrison town of Abbottabad, near Islamabad, Gates told a news conference.

But there was no evidence that leaders in Islamabad were aware of the al Qaeda chief’s whereabouts before US commandos swooped on Bin Laden’s compound this month, he told a Pentagon briefing.

“I have seen no evidence at all that the senior leadership knew. In fact, I’ve seen some evidence to the contrary,” he said.

“It’s my supposition, I think it’s a supposition shared by a number in this government, that somebody had to know, but we have no idea who and no proof and no evidence.”

Gates said he shared the “frustration” felt by US lawmakers towards Pakistan but stressed that President Barack Obama’s administration could not make allegations without evidence.

“It’s hard to go to them with an accusation when we have no proof that anybody knew.”

Lawmakers in Congress have voiced dismay that Bin Laden was hiding in a military town not from the Pakistani capital and have urged the Obama administration to review security aid to the country.

Gates said the aftermath of the raid presented a potential “opportunity,” with Pakistan pledging to take more action.

“The Pakistanis, over the last couple of weeks, have expressed the view that they are willing to go after some of these people and that we should not repeat the Bin Laden operation, because… they will undertake this themselves,” he said.

The Pentagon chief, in his first press conference since Bin Laden was killed on May 2, argued against punishing Pakistan by suspending aid as Islamabad had suffered a blow as a result of the covert raid.

“I think we have to proceed with some caution,” Gates said. “My own view is we need to continue the assistance that we have provided that benefits the Pakistani people.

“If I were in Pakistani shoes, I’ve already paid a price. I’ve been humiliated, I’ve been shown the Americans can come in here and do this with impunity,” he said.

Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it would take time to learn who may have known about Bin Laden in Pakistan as intelligence agencies are still poring over a large amount of material found at the al Qaeda leader’s compound.

The four-star admiral said it was important to maintain strong ties with Pakistan and that his counterpart and “friend,” army chief General Ashfaq Kayani, had pledged to pursue the Haqqani militant network — blamed for launching attacks on US forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

“I think one of the issues that is just a challenge for us is our clock moves a lot faster than his (Kayani’s) clock,” Mullen said.

“That has been the case so far, and I think it will be the case in the future. I’m not trying to give him an excuse, but matching those clocks has been pretty difficult.”

Pakistan received a total of $2.7 billion dollars in aid and reimbursements from Washington in fiscal year 2010, which ended on October 1, making it the third-largest recipient of US aid after Afghanistan and Israel.

Finding bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison town “indicates, at a minimum, a lack of commitment by the Pakistani military to aggressive cooperation with the United States,” a group of Democratic senators wrote in a letter this week to Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (27)

  • goggi
    May 19, 2011 - 11:05AM

    The embassy of the USA in Islamabad, Pakistan!Recommend

  • kamran yousuf
    May 19, 2011 - 11:19AM

    Dont know whether anyone knew of obl ,but certainly everyone knows about other hatemongers spreading their regressive,misogynistic,homophobic agenda throughout our country.Recommend

  • Feroz
    May 19, 2011 - 11:23AM

    This is an oblique and diplomatic way of informing Pakistan that the treasure trove carted away from OBL’s Abottabad mansion has a lot of detail exposing OBL’s support network, inside and outside Pakistan. Either the Establishment has to honestly come clean or become subject to blackmail, a no win situation either way. Recommend

  • Haroon
    May 19, 2011 - 11:24AM

    You,Blackwaters,CIA,ISI,etc who shared every info on drones and terrorists activity etc.Do bluff the world for your further bad intentions about PakistanRecommend

  • May 19, 2011 - 12:02PM

    And your CIA secret safehouse knew it in Abbotabad near osama’s so called compound.Recommend

  • dextor
    May 19, 2011 - 12:26PM

    I think we have to proceed with some caution,” Gates said. “My own view is we need to continue the assistance that we have provided that benefits the Pakistani people.
    A very naive statement…this shows either you dont know anything or you are joking…all the money has been spent on your puppets…ans trust me you knwo one thing if this money stops then this nation will raise…so you will never stop it…and at receiveing end hungry politicans will be recieving…sorry but our poiliticans and you both are humilating humanity..Recommend

  • Furqan
    May 19, 2011 - 12:31PM

    U knew it yourselves AmericansRecommend

  • lkhan
    May 19, 2011 - 1:00PM

    There is no doubt the military hierarchy kept OBL in a safe house. A man who was always protected by armed men in his videos, living by the military academy without a single guard, and more has not fooled Pakistanis. His son Hamza who it seems got away, responsible for Benazir Bhutto’s assassination; a brave woman who had in her posthumously published book written her views on terrorism very clearly, benefitted those who have protected this evil man. The USA must show its support of civilian rule versus the military might of Pakistan, it has so far done applaudable work after the floods even though the Kerry Lugar bill aid is slow in being implemented. The people of Pakistan are aware of those responsible for the Abbottabad debacle, though their anger too is aimed at the USA for breaking international sovereignty laws. Let’s see whether Mullah Omar and others will be shortly arrested/killed in action. If not, business as usual, not favourable to the future of Pakistan…..Recommend

  • Syed Imran
    May 19, 2011 - 1:21PM

    Pakistan has to move with caution as it can neither match the American resources or its propoganda machine.Recommend

  • ishrat salim
    May 19, 2011 - 1:52PM

    I agree with Syed Imran contentions…but would hasten to add…their bulliness & ” wild west cowboy ” & their ” give a damn care ” attitude.Recommend

  • Dr. Ali Ahmed
    May 19, 2011 - 1:59PM

    P M L NRecommend

  • Ahmed
    May 19, 2011 - 2:42PM

    Yeah, American CIA knew already, but they are waiting for the right time to resurface Osama from the pure land of Pakistan only to pressurize already-troubled Pakistan. On the other hand, if ISI fails to detect Osama, then ultimately American CIA also failed after spending billions of dollars of American people on Intelligence operations.Recommend

  • John
    May 19, 2011 - 6:43PM

    US must know who that somebody is from the materials collected from OBL house. The information is a leverage against Pakistan. Recommend

  • goggi
    May 19, 2011 - 9:24PM

    We use to see on the roads of Lahore the trick of rope which is described as “the world´s greatest illusion”. A magician hurled a rope into the air. The rope would stand erect with no external support and then his assistant boy jamoora would climb the rope and descend.
    Everyday we are being BOMBED with the most incredible events and before we can think deeply about the matter comes the next.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    May 19, 2011 - 11:41PM

    What proof do u need?? Had u find any proof of W.M.D. to take action against Saddam? A Super power’s Defence secretary’s “supposition” is enough for action. Go punish the culprit. Recommend

  • S. H. Zaidi
    May 20, 2011 - 12:03AM

    All the noise being made by the US government against the Pakistani agencies and the military for having failed to locate Osama in Abbotabad is a smojkescreen to hide their own incompetence in locating and apprehending him for a decade, and is motivated by the desire to hide their own failure and expenditure of billions of dollars of Americn taxpayers’ money from the American taxpayers.
    In fact, Pakistani leaders have got the whole nation into trouble by involving the country into this unedning ‘war on terror.’
    At what point would the American government consider the war over? And let its poor soldiers, and those of the NATO countries, return home? And how many innocent citizens of other countries including afghnistan and Pakistna do they want to kill to avenge the 3000 dead of 9/11? Recommend

  • Massileaks
    May 20, 2011 - 12:17AM


    @John: Leverage against Pakistan? Well hope Pak military grows a backbone and use China, Russia and Iran as leverage AGAINST AMERICA!!!!!!Recommend

  • Javed
    May 20, 2011 - 3:41AM

    @Massileaks: What kind of a backbone are you talking about. Dependence on China, Russia and Iran is not growing a backbone just shifting you weight on others. None of them is willing to share your burdenRecommend

  • Hammad Khan
    May 20, 2011 - 3:42AM

    Okay, I have a question for the Tribune Express. I have been noticing for a time now that the stories that you get from the Associated Press, you publish it word to word. Even the titles remain the same. I used to come to this website for its uniqueness and ‘diverse’ opinions. However, this lazy journalism is killing the uniqueness of this news source so I’d recommend that some one look into it and put some effort in to uphold the standards of the Tribune Express. There is nothing fascinating about copying and pasting stories from the AP; even I can start competing with the Tribune Express on my blog by doing the exact same thing.Recommend

  • F Robinson
    May 20, 2011 - 5:27AM

    Despite generous US aid Pakistan always plays a duplicitous role on war on terror. This monumental Pakistani deception has raised the issue of whether any pledge provided by the Pakistani military and Government can be believed, including the security of its nuclear arsenal.
    United States could consider seeking a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorize an investigation into how Bin Laden managed to hide in plain view. The inquiry should examine the presence of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in Pakistan.Recommend

  • rk singh
    May 20, 2011 - 6:55AM

    Safe to say Musharraf and Kayani???Recommend

  • Thinking
    May 20, 2011 - 8:08AM

    There is so much denial in the commenters above. Recommend

  • Utopia
    May 20, 2011 - 9:08AM

    Lawmakers in Congress have voiced dismay that Bin Laden was hiding in a military town not from the Pakistani capital and have urged the Obama administration to review security aid to the country.

    far is missing! that is the least interest America deserves! Recommend

  • Mirza
    May 20, 2011 - 9:16AM

    @Javed: Even their pride and backbone is not their own. Pakistanis are begging communist China and Russia to provide them with the backbone and pride (Ghairat) in charity. One one hand they don’t want foreign aid, on the other they don’t even have the pride of their own! What a shameless bunch of so-called men?

    Mirza, USARecommend

    May 20, 2011 - 9:52AM

    Gates should not be issuing statements against Pakistan but wait for the findings of the retired General investigating Osama’s case, who will bring-out the ultimate truth of the whole case.Recommend

  • Sajjad
    May 20, 2011 - 12:46PM

    Yes.we feel humiliated,angry with the incompetence of those responsible who have brought the country and its best department to disrepute.Recommend

  • Adnan
    Jun 11, 2011 - 10:47PM

    If I were in Pakistani shoes, I’ve already paid a price. I’ve been humiliated, I’ve been shown the Americans can come in here and do this with impunity,” Look at the audacity of the man! How dare he! And did anybody in the FO summon the US ambassador to Pakistan and protest? Or did Pakistan’s ambassador to the US protest to the State Dept? The only way to deal with these cowboys is to shoot them down, starting with the drones. That’s the only language the Americans understand. One version of the May 2 events was that PAF F16’s were scrambled and then told not shoot at the departing US helicopters. In a way, I hope this is true because it means we were not caught napping but if it is true why were they not forced to land rather than allowed to esacpe? The more you think about it the more it sounds like collusion between the US and the Pakistani government……

    The great American thinker Noam Chomsky puts this illegal raid and violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty in proper perspective: ” We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.” Well, for one thing, it would wipe that smug look off Robert Gates’s face! Recommend

More in Pakistan