Incompetence and negligence by Pakistani political and military leaders allowed 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden to live in Pakistan undetected for nearly a decade before the U.S. raid on his compound, according to a new report issued by its government.
The leaked Pakistani government report, published by Al Jazeera, details how Bin Laden avoided capture by using disguises and fake identification, relying on the help of his trusted bodyguards, and taking advantage of the inept government. The scathing report called it a case of “government implosion syndrome.”
Among the most interesting revelations in the 337 page document:
- At one point, Bin Laden shaved off his world-famous beard.
- When he went outside, Bin Laden often wore a cowboy hat to avoid aerial detection.
- He bought his compound using a fake national ID card, and the occupants there did not pay taxes.
- His wife posed as a deaf mute when she went to the hospital to deliver their children
- One of Bin Laden’s courier’s wives said on one occasion, while visiting a nearby bazaar, their car–with Bin Laden inside–was stopped for speeding by a traffic policeman. Bin Laden’s courier, however, “quickly settled the matter.”
- The wife of one of Bin Laden’s bodyguards said during her six years at the compound, she never once saw the world’s most wanted terrorist, suggesting he rarely ventured out.
- Bin Laden lived a very frugal life, owning only six Pakistani outfits–three for summer and three for winter. He also had one black jacket and two sweaters.
Philip Mudd of the New America Foundation and former deputy director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center said on Hardball that the report confirmed there was no cover-up on part of Pakistani officials.
“There’s a difference between Hollywood and reality,” said Mudd. “People want to build complicated complicity stories—somebody must have known if he had been there for nine years. The reality, as we saw in this leaked report, was incompetence is the reason he went free, not some vast conspiracy theory that we’d see in the movies.”