Pakistan and bin Laden: Who knew what?

Pakistan and bin Laden: Who knew what?
Pakistan and bin Laden: Who knew what?
Reuters file

New details are emerging today that show officials within Pakistan’s military and intelligence services may have been giving aid to Osama bin Laden on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. From today’s Wall Street Journal:

Two senior U.S. officials and a high-level European military-intelligence official who have direct working knowledge of Pakistan’s military intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, say similar elements linked to the ISI have aided other Pakistan-based terror groups, the Haqqani militant network and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

“There’s no doubt he was protected by some in the ISI,” the European official said of bin Laden. The officials say they believe these ISI elements include some current and former intelligence and military operatives with long-standing ties to al Qaeda and other militant groups.

The officials didn’t offer specific evidence, but pointed to the town’s proximity to the capital and its high concentration of current and former military and intelligence officers. They said aid likely included intelligence tips to help keep bin Laden ahead of his American pursuers.

Earlier today, Pakistan’s military called for cuts in the number of U.S. military personnel in Pakistan in protest to the Navy SEAL raid on bin Laden’s compound. Pakistani military officials are also threatening to cease cooperation with U.S. officials if there are more U.S. operations inside the country’s borders.

The New York Times obtained the statement from Pakistan’s military leader, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. It reads, “Any similar action violating the sovereignty of Pakistan will warrant a review on the level of military-intelligence cooperation with the United States.”

A top official at The Pentagon also told The Times that White House officials “do not have any definitive evidence at this point” (emphasis added). Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele A. Flournoy characterized her conversations with Pakistani military officials as “very candid.” Flournoy added, “We are still talking with the Pakistanis and trying to understand what they did know, what they didn’t know.”