U.S.: No Evidence Pakistan Knew Of Bin Laden's Compound

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. has no "definitive evidence" that Pakistan knew Osama bin Laden had been living in the compound where Navy SEALs killed him, but the Pakistanis must now show convincingly their commitment to defeating the al-Qaida terrorist network, a senior Pentagon official said Thursday.
Michele Flournoy, the top policy aide to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, told reporters that the Pakistani government should, for example, help the U.S. exploit the materials the SEALs collected inside bin Laden's lair during their raid on Monday.
Flournoy was the first Pentagon official to comment on-the-record about the raid. She offered no new details about it, but said it dealt "a very severe blow" to al-Qaida and offers incentive for Pakistan to cooperate more fully in defeating the terrorist network.
"This is a real moment of opportunity for us in terms of making further gains against al-Qaida," she said.
Questions about whether Pakistan knew of bin Laden's whereabouts, and may even have helped hide him, arose immediately after Monday's raid. Flournoy said U.S. officials have pressed Pakistan for more details about the matter.
"We are still talking with the Pakistanis and trying to understand what they did know, what they didn't know," she said. "We do not have any definitive evidence at this point that they did know that Osama bin Laden was at this compound."
Pressed for more detail about what evidence the U.S. might have about Pakistani knowledge of bin Laden's whereabouts prior to the raid, Flournoy declined to elaborate, saying that kind of information would have to come from the CIA, which led the hunt for bin Laden and oversaw Monday's raid.
In Islamabad, Pakistan's army on Thursday called for cuts in the number of American military personnel inside the country to protest the raid, and it threatened to cut cooperation with Washington if it stages more unilateral raids on its territory. A small number of U.S. soldiers have been training Pakistani forces in counter-insurgency operations.
Flournoy, the undersecretary of defense for policy, said she held previously scheduled talks at the Pentagon on Monday, just hours after the raid was announced, with a Pakistani government delegation. In that session and follow-up talks on Tuesday, Flournoy said she made clear that members of Congress -- even those who have been supporters of increased cooperation with Pakistan -- will be increasingly skeptical about the wisdom of continuing to provide billions of dollars in U.S. aid.
Pakistan must take "very concrete and visible steps to show their cooperation as a counterterrorism partner," she said, "because I do think that Congress will have to be convinced to sustain both civilian and military assistance to Pakistan." She added that the Obama administration still intends to keep close ties to Pakistan, even as it presses the Pakistanis for more information about bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad, the military garrison town a few dozen miles from Islamabad, the capital.
Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., a supporter of U.S. aid to Pakistan, said Thursday it would be self-defeating to walk away from the relationship.
"Distancing ourselves from Pakistan would be unwise and extremely dangerous," he told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. "It would weaken our intelligence gathering, limit our ability to prevent conflict between India and Pakistan, further complicate military operations in Afghanistan, end cooperation on finding terrorists, and eliminate engagement with Islamabad on the security of its nuclear weapons."
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, took the same view.
"It's not a time to back away from Pakistan," he said. "Frankly, I believe that our aid should continue to Pakistan."
Flournoy predicted that any doubts about bin Laden's death will be erased, even without the U.S. releasing a photo of his corpse.
"In time it will become apparent -- undeniably apparent. I think al-Qaida will recognize that this is in fact the truth (and) and that they will make changes in their own leadership to reflect that truth," she said. "The same people who doubt whether he's dead today would probably look at a photo and doubt whether that's real."

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  • by G. Russ Location: Connecticut on May 6, 2011 at 03:08 AM
    How coinveinant Buried at Sea... If you believe that Then I have the Brooklyn Bridge to sell you... We are talking about the U.S. Goverment here who runs your life and screws everyone they can. Pictures can be altered no physical proof... Hummm an UNAUTHORIZED RAID yeah right. The Goveremnt NEVER lies
  • by G. Russ Location: Connecticut on May 6, 2011 at 02:59 AM
    Do you really think that the American public is going to believe the B.S. that the Goverment and the President is feeding everyone? 9/11 was an inside job and the people need to open there eyes... go onto "CONSPIRACY THEORY" and read further and you will see the "CON" that the Goveremnt has pulled on us ALL. You decide and also think about this... Why now is the president going around to all the Fire Houses after ALL THIS TIME.... Hummmm Could it be another FALSE FRONT to try and point the finger at someone who may not have carried out such a crime against us. you will know the TRUTH. GOVERMENT CORRUPTION !
  • by lansing623 on May 5, 2011 at 05:47 PM
    Really... And as an American 'I WANT PROOF THE S.O.B. IS DEAD...
  • by Sandi on May 5, 2011 at 01:05 PM
    Just what would you expect the government to say? Did the Pakisan goverment know where he was? I would give 100 to 1 odds that they did. There is no way unless the Pakistani goverment is deaf dumb and blind that someone wasn't getting paid under the table, to turn a blind eye. Make that several persons. The only thing they they are upset about is that the USA made them look like a bunch of idiots. Are they more upset over the USA attacking and killing Bin Laden? Do pigs fly? We just cut off some peoples personal banking account.
  • by annoyed Location: Dewitt on May 5, 2011 at 11:55 AM
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