This must be a very, very important story. Why else would I be getting an email alerting me to this very, very important story from Jennifer Scoggins, a senior publicist for CNN in Washington?
“Do you believe high officials in Pakistan knew bin Laden was hiding for years in A — at that compound in Abbottabad?”
We can be in no doubt that this is a very, very serious question because it’s coming from Wolf Blitzer hunkered down in his Situation Room.
Pakistan is costing the U.S. $100 million a month by depriving NATO of its right to transport supplies to Afghanistan by the cheapest route. On top of that they had the audacity to jail Dr Shakil Afridi after he had demonstrated his ability to be an indispensable asset to the CIA, leading to the assassination of Osama bin Laden.
So, it’s understandable that Washington and CNN have run out of patience. It is indeed time for Pakistan to come clean and admit that bin Laden was under the protection of the ISI… or something like that. After all, there can be absolutely no doubt that someone knew he was in Abbottabad.
Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t watch CNN but I do know that CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen, widely touted as al Qaeda expert supremo, rejects the idea that any Pakistani officials knew bin Laden was in Abbottabad. Why? Bin Laden had clearly gone to great lengths to keep his whereabouts secret. Why would he have taken the risk of revealing his location to anyone who did not need to know?
Most likely Abbottabad offered a secure hideout for the al Qaeda leader not because he had been offered some official or semi-official sanctuary there but because he could have reasonably assumed that it was an area that could not so easily come under CIA surveillance.
Neither in Pakistan nor the United States does government truly have all-seeing eyes.
Does the Secret Service know the owner and occupant of every vehicle currently operating within a two mile radius of the White House? Does it run background checks on every property owner, tenant and sub-tenant in this area? I don’t think so.
Is it possible that right now someone is living in Washington DC whose presence and identity might be a cause of great alarm for the FBI, but they have no idea what’s going on under their noses? No doubt.