In­tel com­mit­tee chair­man says Pak­istan ISI aided bin Laden

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics - BY ELI LAKE

El­e­ments of Pak­istan’s mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence ser­vice as­sisted Osama bin Laden be­fore he was killed dur­ing the re­cent U.S. raid on his Ab­bot­to­bad hide­out, the chair­man of the House In­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee said June 14.

“I be­lieve that there are el­e­ments of both the mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence ser vice who in some way, both pr ior and maybe even cur­rent, pro­vided some level of as­sis­tance to Osama bin Laden,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, Michi­gan Repub­li­can and chair­man of the House Per­ma­nent Se­lect Com­mit­tee on In­tel­li­gence, who re­cently re­turned from a visit to Pak­istan.

Se­nior Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials have said they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing bin Laden’s sup­port net­work in Pak­istan and whether there was of­fi­cial gov­ern­ment sup­port. U.S. of­fi­cials also have said there were no signs that se­nior Pak­istani gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials knew about bin Laden’s com­pound.

The com­ments go be­yond what Mr. Rogers said previ- ously. Last month he told CNN that Pak­istani mil­i­tary el­e­ment may have sup­ported bin Laden.

Mr. Rogers, who met in Pak­istan with Lt. Gen. Ah­mad Shuja Pasha, the head of ISI, and Gen. Ash­faq Par vez Kayani, the chief of Pak­istan’s mil­i­tary, said he knew of no ev­i­dence that im­pli­cated the po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary lead­er­ship of Pak­istan in har­bor­ing the al Qaeda leader at a com­pound lo­cated within yards of a pres­ti­gious Pak­istani mil­i­tary academy.

He said how­ever that re­cent news re­ports in­di­cat­ing in­sur­gents were tipped off in ad­vance to a mil­i­tary raid on a site used for build­ing road­side bombs sug­gested Pak­istan’s mil­i­tary and ISI are were com­pro­mised.

“I do be­lieve, I think the re­cent news re­port on the com­pounds high­lights, there is some level of sym­pa­thiz­ers within the ISI, within the lo­cal po­lice de­part­ments, within the way they would han­dle that piece of in­for­ma­tion [. . . ] there are cer­tainly sym­pa­thiz­ers and I think you can ex­trap­o­late that on a proac­tive side to the fact that Osama bin Laden was in Ab­bot­to­bad for nearly five years.”

De­fense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates told Associated Press that the United States was dis­ap­pointed and sus­pi­cious about a tipoff, but does not be­lieve Pak­istani of­fi­cials dis­closed in­for­ma­tion about the raid to the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani in­sur­gents.

“We don’t know the specifics of what hap­pened,” Mr. Gates said on June 13. “There are sus­pi­cions and there are ques­tions, but I think there was clearly dis­ap­point­ment on our part.”

Mr. Rogers said Pak­istan has yet to make a de­ci­sion af­ter the U.S. raid against bin Laden to re­dou­ble the coun­try’s ef­forts to fight terrorism. He said that U.S. Em­bassy op­er­a­tions were be­ing hin­dered by Pak­istan’s mil­i­tary in some cases. He also said the coun­try needed to be more trans­par­ent and al­low U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials ac­cess to de­tainees.

“Now is the time to put more pres­sure on Pak­istan to do the right thing,” he said.

Mr. Rogers said he con­sid­ered Pak­istan to be a “mil­i­tary with a coun­try,” not a coun­try with a mil­i­tary. For now, the mil­i­tar y has not cho­sen to strengthen its al­liance with the United States against al Qaeda and the Tal­iban fol­low­ing the raid on bin Laden’s com­pound.

“They could have said ‘we are go­ing to re­dou­ble our ef­forts with the United States, we are go­ing to fight ex­trem­ism, we are go­ing to fight terrorism, we are go­ing to join with you as part­ners to try to re­move the ex­trem­ist and dan­ger­ous el­e­ments in Pak­istan that we know have tar­geted the United States in the past,’ “ he said.

Rep. Mike Rogers, Michi­gan Repub­li­can and chair­man of the House Per­ma­nent Se­lect Com­mit­tee on In­tel­li­gence

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