martes, 3 de mayo de 2011

US reveals Bin Laden leak fears

 The head of the CIA has said the US did not tell Pakistan about the operation to capture al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden because it feared the Pakistanis would leak information to the targets. CIA director Leon Panetta told Time magazine they decided co-operation "could jeopardise the mission".
Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, says it is embarrassed by its failures on Bin Laden.
Pakistan's government denied knowledge of the raid before it took place.
Bin Laden, 54, was the founder and leader of al-Qaeda. He is believed to have ordered the attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001, as well as a number of other deadly bombings.
In its article, billed as Mr Panetta's first interview since Bin Laden was killed, Time magazine says "the CIA ruled out participating with its nominal South Asian ally early on".
It quotes Mr Panetta as saying "it was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardize the mission. They might alert the targets".
Pakistan received $1.3bn (£786m) in US aid last year and provides logistical support for the Nato mission in Afghanistan. However, relations between Islamabad and Washington have been strained by US suspicions that the ISI is covertly backing militants in Afghanistan, and by anger over US drone strikes in Pakistani tribal areas.
'Sharing information' Pakistan's ministry of foreign affairs has defended the ISI.
Clearly there were people helping Bin Laden in this location... were they state employees, were they simply from Taliban-related groups, were they from the intelligence agencies?
For all Americans may ask the questions, I doubt they will get any answers. There will be ambiguity about this and the Pakistanis will deny they had any knowledge whatsoever.
The establishment here is made up of army leadership, intelligence agency leadership and some senior civil servants, and they have always run Pakistan, whether democratic governments or military governments, and those people do have connections with jihadis.
The difficulty the West has is in appreciating there are more than 20 different types of jihadi organisations, and al-Qaeda is just one of them. The state has different policies towards different types of group and that subtlety is often lost on Western policy-makers.
In a statement, it said: "As far as the target compound is concerned, ISI had been sharing information with CIA and other friendly intelligence agencies since 2009."
No base within Pakistan was used by US forces, the ministry said. It went on: "US helicopters entered Pakistani airspace making use of blind spots in the radar coverage due to hilly terrain."
The ISI official gave new details of the raid, saying Bin Laden's young daughter had said she saw her father shot.
He told the BBC's Owen Bennett-Jones in Islamabad that the compound in Abbottabad, just 100km (62 miles) from the capital, was raided when under construction in 2003.
It was believed an al-Qaeda operative, Abu Faraj al-Libi, was there.
But since then, "the compound was not on our radar, it is an embarrassment for the ISI", the official said. "We're good, but we're not God."
He added: "This one failure should not make us look totally incompetent. Look at our track record. For the last 10 years, we have captured Taliban and al-Qaeda in their hundreds - more than any other countries put together."
The compound is just a few hundred metres from the Pakistan Military Academy - the country's equivalent of West Point or Sandhurst.
The ISI official also gave new or differing accounts of some of the events of Sunday's raid. They included:
  • There were 17-18 people in the compound at the time of the attack
  • The Americans took away one person still alive, possibly a Bin Laden son
  • Those who survived the attack included a wife, a daughter and eight to nine other children, not apparently Bin Laden's; all had their hands tied by the Americans
  • The surviving Yemeni wife said they had moved to the compound a few months ago
  • Bin Laden's daughter, aged 12 or 13, saw her father shot
The official said it was thought the Americans wanted to take away the surviving women and children but had to abandon the plan when one of the helicopters malfunctioned.
The helicopter was destroyed by the special forces unit.
The US has not commented on anyone it captured or had planned to capture, other than saying it had taken Bin Laden's body.
The ISI official said the organisation had recovered some documents from the compound.
The CIA is already said to be going through a large number of hard drives and storage devices seized in the raid.
The White House has not disclosed whether anyone has claimed the $25m (£15m) reward for leading the US to Bin Laden.
President Obama: "We were reminded again that there is a pride in what this nation stands for"
Our correspondent says residents near the compound in Abbottabad reported that Pakistani soldiers had asked them to switch off their lights an hour before the attack, but the ISI official said this was not true and that it had no advance knowledge of the raid.  President Asif Ali Zardari admitted Bin Laden "was not anywhere we had anticipated he would be".
But he denied the killing suggested Pakistan was failing in its efforts to tackle terrorism.
US national security adviser Joh Brennan had said it was "inconceivable that Bin Laden did not have a support system" in Pakistan. He estimated Bin Laden had been living in the compound in Abbottabad for five or six years.
'Geronimo' Bin Laden was America's most wanted man but eluded capture for more than a decade.
US officials say that after DNA tests, they are "99.9%" sure that the man they shot and killed and later buried at sea was Bin Laden.
The al-Qaeda leader, his son Khalid, trusted personal courier Sheikh Abu Ahmed and the courier's brother were all killed, along with an unidentified woman.
Bin Laden was shot above his left eye, blowing away a section of his skull, and was also shot in the chest.
The White House is still discussing whether to release a photo of Bin Laden's body.
The BBC's Andrew North, in Washington, says many people will want proof that Bin Laden is dead but the White House will be concerned about the reaction if the video, and still photographs of the body, are released.