Pakistan was privy to Bin Laden’s hiding: Book

Clinton made it clear that preserving Pak-US amity was not a priority when it came to getting bin Laden.


Azam Khan September 03, 2012

ISLAMABAD: A top US official who briefed US President Barack Obama was certain that Pakistan was well aware of Osama Bin Laden’s whereabouts, according to Peter Bergen’s recently published book ‘Manhunt: From 9/11 to Abbottabad - The Ten Year Search for Osama Bin Laden’.

“If Bin Laden was dwelling in the midst of a well-policed city, how could the Pakistanis not know?” asked Robert Cardillo, a veteran intelligence official who briefed President Obama three days a week about national security developments around the world.

Furthermore, if his compound was just a kilometre away from the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul, it was “nuts” that he hadn’t relocated in six years, the official said – inviting murmurs that it was being guarded by the Pakistan military.

The book reveals secret deliberations of the top US intelligence with Obama. However, when approached by The Express Tribune not a single Pakistani official was ready comment on the book’s claims.

Bergen claims in the book that the US military leadership had hinted at unilateral action against Bin Laden or Ayman al Zawahiri, the current leader of al Qaeda, to Pakistan’s army chief.

US Admiral Mike Mullen repeatedly told his counterpart General Kayani, “If we know we can find Number One or Number Two, we are going to get them. Period. And we are going to get them unilaterally. Period.”

There seemed to be certain downsides of involving Pakistan. Intelligence officials claimed that doing so might lead to mishandling of crucial information. The Abottabad operation was hence carried out in complete secrecy, with not more than a dozen military men privy to its developments.

The question of sovereignty

A huge question before the US leadership related to the consequences of a unilateral action on Pakistan’s sovereignty. Flying undetected over a long stretch of Pakistani airspace was another huge challenge.

According to the book, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made it clear that preserving Pak-US amity was not a priority when it came to eliminating Bin Laden: “And I remember at one point, one of the briefers said the raid will be considered a gross violation of the Pakistanis’ national honor, and I exploded at the moment and said, what about our national honor? And what about going after a man who killed three thousand innocent people?” she said

The method of raid was also discussed at length. Top US officials’ decided not to contact General Kayani for assistance. They agreed to adopt the ‘fight your way out’ option instead.

Michael Leiter, then Director of the National Counterterrorism Center says, “We were just amazed by the lack of a Pakistani response. It was, even by Pakistani standards, remarkably slow.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2012.

COMMENTS (18)

BruteForce | 9 years ago | Reply

@Azeem:

Osama was'nt ANY terrorist. He was THE terrorist.

He was not found in some tribal area, but next to a military academy.

You can justify it how much ever you want to, but the world will think on its own terms. That matters a lot.

Azeem | 9 years ago | Reply

@BruteForce: your logic is like that of a 2 year old Baby. Pakistan caught more AL Qaeda fighters than US and UK put together. A US solider was involved in Terrorism against Obama, does that mean Every single US general knew about it ???? he didnt live next to PMA, he lived inside a room with a local family. No one would guess he lived their, do you know everyone who lives on your street ?

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