BERLIN: Germany’s foreign intelligence agency helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden in Pakistan where US special forces killed the al-Qaeda leader, according to a German news report published on Sunday.
The BND spy service provided a tip-off that Bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan, with the knowledge of Pakistani security services, according to the Bild am Sonntag report, which was published as the agency is battling heavy criticism in a spy scandal.
The information came from a BND informant within the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and confirmed CIA suspicions, said the newspaper report which cited unnamed US intelligence sources.
The American source was quoted as saying the German tip-off was of “fundamental importance” in the hunt for the architect of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Pakistan has denied that it knew Bin Laden was living within its borders or that it had advance knowledge of the 2011 US special forces operation which killed him in a walled compound in the city of Abbottabad.
The German newspaper said that ultimately US services tracked down Bin Laden’s exact location by following one of his couriers, as Washington has said.
The report also said the BND used its Bad Aibling listening post in Germany’s southern Bavaria state to monitor telephone and email traffic in northern Pakistan to ensure the secrecy of the planned US Navy SEALS’ operation.
News portal Spiegel Online pointed out that the newspaper report about the German spy agency’s “apparent act of heroism” was published “right in the middle of the BND affair” and asked “is it plausible?”
The BND has been accused of helping the US National Security Agency (NSA) spy not just on extremists and criminals but also on political and business targets, including the French government, European Commission and Airbus Group.