Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden’s Hideout and Protected Him, NYT Reporter Confirms


After the killing of Osama bin Laden, Pakistan vehemently denied any knowledge that the most wanted terrorist operative in the world had lived in a protected compound in Abbottabad just a few short miles from Pakistan’s military academy. Nobody really believed them. Senior U.S. officials would, when asked by the press, give the Pakistani government a verbal licking, but only in vague terms that declined to confirm what seemed obvious to everyone: that Pakistan did know of bin Laden’s hideout there.

New York Times journalist Carlotta Gall, who spent more than a decade reporting from Afghanistan and Pakistan has pretty well confirmed that Pakistan not only knew of bin Laden’s presence, but actively protected him. More than that, the U.S. government knows they knew, and the Pakistanis know they know they knew.

Soon after the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden’s house, a Pakistani official told me that the United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. The information came from a senior United States official, and I guessed that the Americans had intercepted a phone call of Pasha’s or one about him in the days after the raid. “He knew of Osama’s whereabouts, yes,” the Pakistani official told me. The official was surprised to learn this and said the Americans were even more so. Pasha had been an energetic opponent of the Taliban and an open and cooperative counterpart for the Americans at the ISI. “Pasha was always their blue-eyed boy,” the official said. But in the weeks and months after the raid, Pasha and the ISI press office strenuously denied that they had any knowledge of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad.

Contrary to depictions of bin Laden being holed up in this compound hiding from the world, he went about freely: “Bin Laden traveled in plain sight, his convoys always knowingly waved through any security checkpoints.” And here’s the real whammy:

In trying to prove that the ISI knew of Bin Laden’s whereabouts and protected him, I struggled for more than two years to piece together something other than circumstantial evidence and suppositions from sources with no direct knowledge. Only one man, a former ISI chief and retired general, Ziauddin Butt, told me that he thought Musharraf had arranged to hide Bin Laden in Abbottabad. But he had no proof and, under pressure, claimed in the Pakistani press that he’d been misunderstood. Finally, on a winter evening in 2012, I got the confirmation I was looking for. According to one inside source, the ISI actually ran a special desk assigned to handle Bin Laden. It was operated independently, led by an officer who made his own decisions and did not report to a superior. He handled only one person: Bin Laden. I was sitting at an outdoor cafe when I learned this, and I remember gasping, though quietly so as not to draw attention. (Two former senior American officials later told me that the information was consistent with their own conclusions.) This was what Afghans knew, and Taliban fighters had told me, but finally someone on the inside was admitting it. The desk was wholly deniable by virtually everyone at the ISI — such is how supersecret intelligence units operate — but the top military bosses knew about it, I was told.

Gall criticizes Washington’s “failure to fully understand and actively confront Pakistan on its support and export of terrorism.” That’s clearly true, and not just on the bin Laden thing, but the fact that Pakistan supports militant groups the U.S. has been fighting against in Afghanistan for 12 years. But more than failing to confront Pakistan on these issues, the U.S. sends billions of dollars to Islamabad every year. The U.S. pays them as they hold and protect the guy who masterminded the 9/11 attacks; protects them by playing dumb when asked about their collusion.

According to former CIA intelligence officer and contributor Phil Giraldi, Pakistan may have even been implicated in the 9/11 attacks, or at least had foreknowledge of them. There are 28-pages in the 9/11 Commission Report regarding Saudi Arabia’s connections to the 9/11 hijackers that remain classified, at the request of our own government.

“A true accounting of what took place is long overdue and, one might add, it should not stop with the Saudis,” Giraldi writes. “Some of the hijackers spent considerable time in Pakistan prior to 9/11 and it is unlikely that the Pakistani Intelligence Service (ISI) would have missed their presence or the opportunity to recruit them as sources.”

So really: how demented is U.S. foreign policy that it pays, arms, and diplomatically protects extremist regimes which support militants who wish to attack the U.S.? What’s going on?

[h/t emptywheel]

83 thoughts on “Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden’s Hideout and Protected Him, NYT Reporter Confirms”

  1. "Confirm" is not how I would put it but I haven't read the NYT piece yet. But, if you're not omitting anything huge, there's not much here that we didn't already know or doesn't serve the interests of the states involved.

    Both Pakistan and US intel were aware — at least a year before the attacks — that people were training on commercial flight simulators in Lahore to crash planes into buildings.

    And, if the ISI knew, so did the CIA.

  2. "So really: how demented is U.S. foreign policy that it pays, arms, and diplomatically protects extremist regimes which support militants who wish to attack the U.S.? What’s going on?"

    Glaser, I know you know the answer to this. All Washington cares about is more money and more power. It's not demented. It's totally rational, given the US government's chief concern.

  3. I think part of what is going on is that they found a tool to use to scare an illiterate population and do whatever they want wherever they want. It provides a justification for new economic expansions in the national security state. The Neocons used peoples illiteracy to promote attacks on Muslims who had nothing to do with 9/11 but were a thorn in Israel's side.

    The Pakistan side of this is interesting because Bush threatened Musharraf after 9/11. I think incompetence and disinterest of US political leaders concerning Al Qaeda led to this situation. They refused understand their enemy and the well that sprung them. It maybe too late now. The shallow thinking of US politicians has made a stream into a roaring river. They have a confident insurgency in the middle east now, and Al Qaeda is distributing in their magazines how to make a car bomb according to news reports. The Boston bombers are said to have learned their craft from that magazine. The NSA and our militarized police isn't going to save us from people who buy everyday products and make destructive bombs with them. We are lucky so far that people in the West aren't willing to do such things.

    The US made a deal with the devil when it signed on to protect Saudi Arabia. Outside of supporting Israel's colonialism this is the tar baby that broke the back of the American empire. The US should have used all that blood and treasure to create solar panels and develop other alternative energies and not play wack a mole using drones against Saudi funded Salafi jihadist. The US should have never attacked Iraq the first time to protect Saudi Arabia. The fact that Saudi complicity on 9/11 has been hidden for so long shows how much the US is beholden to Saudi Arabia. The US upset Saudi Arabia by empowering the Shia so Saudi Arabia doubled down on supporting the Salafi jihadist. By protecting Saudi Arabia the US has made its "war on terror" a joke.

    There is a whole economic system based on this relationship. The US buys Saudi oil, the money goes to Salafi jihadist, which then fight Americans, who develop and employee technologies to spy on and kill Salafi jihadist. Then the politicians get elected by acting tough and supporting the continuation of milking the public coffers to pay for the war, the pundits get money and fame by being armchair generals by promoting the cause in order to get the public to support the whole terror war economy. Rinse, repeat. It is in the abstract for them because they aren't affected by their policies because terrorism in the US is rare.

  4. This begs the question, was bin Laden even in Afghanistan in 2001-2002?

    And the overall lesson is that it is best to hide out in a country with nukes.

    1. Yea these reports to tend to have the effect of driving one right back to the mainstream. As in: "so … the governments reports of killing Bin Ladin were indeed true …". But they sure did quickly and completely dispose of the body. And there are some reasons to believe Bin Laden died years ago (reports of his death years ago and reports about his health). *Some* because I don't know that for a fact and I doubt anyone does except what insiders know, and they aren't telling.

  5. NYT reporter confirms? Oh well, that must mean it's true. Bottom line would be proof. Proof positive as in habeas corpus. Jeepers Glaser, if your swallowing NYT crap-o-la your credibility would be about next to none.

  6. Excellent article. A rumor has been rife for some time that Osama bin Laden was admitted to Pakistani hospitals on two separate occasions. Each time, according to the words of journalists and authors, is that Bin Laden was visited at his hospital bedside by CIA officers on both occasions, yet took no action to apprehend America's most wanted fugitive. An old saying seems here appropriate, "If your government wants you to know it, it probably isn't true."

  7. ????? ???????? ?????? ????? ????? ??????? ????? ????????: welcome to Umar Aaadl Empire

  8. CIA asset OBL died of Marfan Syndrome long before any alleged nonsense about him holing up in Pakistan. This article from NYT is typical NYT lies and is also typical NYT outright racism.

  9. Oh and Santa Claus is real. Oh for the love of god, get over it already, they've probably "killed" him half a dozen times, it did help Obama in reelection even though they changed the story a few times, CIA admitted to making fake videos of Osama and as ALWAYS NO evidence of US claims other than the Hollywood movie. Really you guys did not have anything more worthy to post instead of propagating yet another fantasy?!

  10. Peace to all:

    How come there are IMO, so few Sunni Muslims that believe that 9-11 was a "false flag" operation? (And no, they don't agree with it, and have been condemning it ever since day one) I mean, who benefited? The so-called "Crusaders," Israel, extremist Zionists, and all of her puppets. I mean if there are so many non-Muslims in the so-called "truth movement" (and there are), I don't understand why there aren't more Muslims, as they are primarily the ones that have and will continue to suffer, heck maybe for the next 100 plus years or so at least (Nuttyahoodi and the neocons said as much in one of their "policy" speeches about a year or so ago). I would appreciate any feed back :) Thanks for your time.

  11. I'm pretty sure OBL had said for awhile that he wanted to be a martyr and that he felt like that was what was left for him to accomplish in this life. So, duh, of course he was walking around and not trying to hide. Trying to hide kinda defeats the whole purpose of the 'I want to be a martyr' think.

    On the other hand, one can see the Pakistani actions not as 'protecting him', but instead believing that they don't want OBL to achieve his goal of martyrdom because they think that will only make things worse. Thus, they hope maybe OBL will die quietly before anyone figures out that they know where he is. I'd rather believe Pakistan didn't like the whole Navy Seal Fish Team 6's show trix, so I can't imagine that they'd want to hurry up such an outcome by telling the US that they knew where OBL was.

  12. Bin Laden, aka Tim Osman, the late CIA asset, died of pulmonary complications bought on by kidney failure in December of 2001 and is buried in an unmarked grave in Tora Bora. This was reported in the Egytian paper, Al-Wafid and even Fox news. People who listened to radio transmissions reported they no longer heard Bin laden after 15 December 2001._Bin Laden had kidney disease and was on dialysis. How long can a man living in a cave survive with kidney disease?

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  16. Given the intimacy of Pakistan and China, its no wonder that the Pakistani knowingly embodied Bin Laden in a secret hideout in their country. Pakistan receives billions of dollars of aid from China, a dead enemy of the U.S. and who, all the time, endanger and do actual hurt to the U.S.A.! With this in mind, the U.S. ought not to be excessively convinced by Pakistani promises of helping to locate BIn Laden, he was inside their very country!! George W. Bush said it right:- "Bomb these bastards back to stone age!!!

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