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BY CHRISTINA HARTMAN
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MSNBC'S CHUCK TODD: “Renewed doubts about whatever it is our relationship is with Pakistan with news that Osama bin Laden was living comfortably, hiding in plain sight, 60 miles from the capital.”
A decade of international pursuit led U.S. forces -- not to a remote cave on a border with Afghanistan -- but to a three-story mansion mere yards away from Pakistan’s equivalent to West Point. U.S. officials say -- at the very least -- it’s surprising. At worst -- suspicious.
FRMR. SEC. STATE CONDOLEEZA RICE ON NBC "TODAY": “I have to say I was surprised to learn where he was found. ... Obviously there are tough questions here.”
JOHN BRENNAN, DEPUTY NAT’L SECURITY ADVISOR: “I think it's inconceivable that bin Laden did not have a support system in the country that allowed him to remain there for an extended period of time.” (VIDEO FROM KTVU)
Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S. promises an investigation into how Osama bin Laden lived in relative luxury right under their noses for years.
The U.S. Department of Defense released this illustration of the compound where bin Laden lived -- surrounded by a wall that reached 18 feet high.
By most accounts it was much more lavish than the other structures in the neighborhood -- and thus should have raised some questions.
Pakistani intelligence admits failures on its part -- but says the compound where bin Laden was found was “not on our radar” since 2003.
The Atlantic Wire’s Uri Friedman writes, “The revelations put Pakistan in a bind. If Pakistani officials say they weren't aware of bin Laden's whereabouts, they look incompetent. … [T]he optimistic reading suggests that they were effectively keeping bin Laden under some sort of house arrest...”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has publicly said Pakistani cooperation was key in bin Laden’s capture. But CBS’ Lara Logan is doubtful -- saying Pakistan has blood on its hands.
“Clearly they're not doing everything they can. And more importantly, they're not going to do everything that counts. And they're going to say this. They've been caught with their pants down here. They're in hot water. They know it. As diplomatic as the U.S. has been publicly, you can bet it's been a different story behind the scenes.”
Those accusations are being categorically denied by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. He penned an op-ed in The Washington Post where he argued -- Pakistan is as much a victim of terrorism as the U.S..
“Such baseless speculation may make exciting cable news, but it doesn’t reflect fact. Pakistan had as much reason to despise al-Qaeda as any nation. The war on terrorism is as much Pakistan’s war as as it is America’s.”
President Zardari called bin Laden’s death a “personal” justice -- reminding readers in 2007 -- terrorists murdered his wife Benazir Bhutto -- the country’s first female prime minister.
But an editorial in the Pakistani English language newspaper Dawn tells a slightly different story -- suggesting Pakistani politicians have been more anti-U.S. than anti-terrorism.
“But then, what to expect from a country some of whose politicians and media raise more hue and cry about US drone attacks (that have killed around 2,000 people, most of them militants), rather than about suicide attacks by Taliban/al-Qaeda that, ever since 2004, have slaughtered over 34,000 civilians, policemen and army personnel.”
In the end -- the BBC’s Owen Bennett Jones concedes -- the world may never know what role -- if any -- the Pakistani government played. But he also notes -- it isn’t so black and white.
“The establishment here is made up of army leadership, intelligence agency leadership and some senior civil servants … 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. ... [T]hat subtlety is often lost on Western policy-makers.”
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