When Osama bin Laden was discovered to be hiding in a three-story house less than a mile away from a Military Academy in Abbottabad, Pakistan and not some hidden cave in the mountains, everyone thought either Pakistan must have known about it or Pakistani intelligence is… less than intelligent.
Pakistan has long denied they knew about Osama’s whereabouts and the U.S. has corroborated this story. But in a new article in The New York Times Magazine, Carlotta Gall, who spent more than a decade reporting from Afghanistan and Pakistan for the Times, suggests otherwise. Apparently documents collected from Osama bin Laden’s house in Pakistan and the word of an anonymous Pakistani official both contradict the official story from Pakistan and the U.S. that Pakistani military officials were unaware that Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad. According to the report, the chief of Pakistan’s intelligence service, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, “knew of Osama’s whereabouts,” according to its source, and the U.S. has “direct evidence” that Pasha knew where bin Laden was.
Carlotta Gall says that documents from bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound contained correspondence between the terrorist and other militant leaders, indicating they were protected by Pakistan’s intelligence service. Bin Laden often traveled in convoys in plain sight to visit fellow terrorists and he was “always knowingly waved through any security checkpoints.”
The U.S. still maintains that Pakistan had no idea where bin Laden was hiding out.
“AS US officials have said, we have no reason to believe that anyone in the highest levels of the government knew about the location of bin Laden. That continues to be true,” White House National Security Council spokesperson said when asked about the news report.
Pakistan would have made an official response too, but Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is currently dealing with a cat/peacock situation. After finding the remains of a peacock and a very full cat on the lawn of his residence, Sharif interrogated the 21 officers guarding his home. 18 were cleared of any wrongdoing but three were suspended for negligence (aka not stopping the cat from eating his peacock). You know what… maybe they didn’t know about Osama bin Laden after all. Too many peacock crises to deal with.