What Pakistan knew about Bin Laden

A new article in the NYT has again raised the issue of the Pakistani government’s knowledge of Bin Laden’s activities inside Pakistan. It’s a long form article which is in general a pretty scathing indictment of Pakistani support for militancy and the Taliban, but it also confirms something most people have suspected - that the Pakistani intelligence service ISI knew about and facilitated Bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan

The article also claims that the US government knew this, but in an effort to salvage what remains of the US-Pakistan relationship, decided to deny existence of any ‘smoking gun’ evidence. I personally believe the article, it’s consistent with Pakistani actions - it has been fomenting Islamist jihad in the region for decades - but how good is the evidence in the article your eyes? It sounds a little weak on its own. Do you think that the top Pakistani military leadership knew about Bin Laden’s hideout? And that the US knows it knew?

I could buy that Pakistan knew and the U.S. suspected they knew but couldn’t prove it.

I could buy that too, but I’d like to have a clearer idea of the ISS motive for keeping Bin Laden around. Did they want to keep the US in Afghanistan?

“Pakistan knew” is an almost meaningless sentence.

Some people in Pakistan knew - certainly.

Some people in Pakistan, that you could describe as part of the government, knew - certainly.

Some people in Pakistan’s intelligence service knew - certainly.

But going from there to “the government knew” or “the intelligence service (as a whole)” knew - no, there’s no evidence I’m aware of.

And you have to realise that the Pakistan intelligence service is a state within a state - hugely more so than the CIA. It’s more like the Chinese Army; it runs with basically no oversight or control from what we would think of as 'the government", ie the executive and the legislature. They have essentially run a proxy war in Afghanistan against the US and the West for 10 years and the Pakistan government has been powerless to stop them, on those occasions when it’s actually genuinely wanted to. Powerless.

The article, and my post, specifically mentions top military leadership, which effectively was(and to a large extent, in that the military is easily the most powerful institution in Pakistan, still is) also top government leadership. And I think it’s laughable to say that Musharraf was powerless to get the ISI to do what he wanted them to.

For one, I don’t think the Afghanistan war was about Bin Laden. It was about removing support structures for Al Qaeda. For another, yes, Pakistan received about 12 Billion USD in military aid alone during the last 10 or so years, so they weren’t doing too badly from keeping the US in Afghanistan. Especially since they were making sure on the side that the US wasn’t, y’know, actually achieving anything.

Still don’t believe Bin Laden is dead.

What are your thoughts on Elvis?

Most sought after and hunted enemy in the United States History “killed” in a succesful op

-Not a shred of physical evidence

  • No body ,no pics, relying solely on word of mouth.
    -I find it difficult to believe anything without proof

I hope you will excuse my skepticism.

You know… the Pakistani government losing their shit and the exploded pieces of spy helicopter… that’s kind of evidence.

Anyway, without going into too much detail, there is copious evidence of ISI’s complicity, even in the open source. The US government chooses to ignore it for reasons that baffle me. I am stunned and appalled by our leadership’s failure to confront Pakistan for its crimes.

I’ll address this just so nobody takes this obnoxious claptrap seriously, but I’d request you to open another thread if you want to discuss it further.
You’re wrong about the absence of physical evidence, several US representatives have seen photographs, and there’s a DNA record taken from his body.

And you think Al Qaeda is in on this conspiracy with the US govt.? Because they haven’t exactly denied it. In fact, they confirmed his death.

Why would any political entity risk their credibility and engendering the humiliation of getting caught LYING about killing him? Why not simply say nothing and keep hunting him?

And it wasn’t as if bin Laden was the most dangerous person out there. This wasn’t “Chapo” Guzman or Pablo Escobar. This was a guy who bankrolled and inspired other terrorists; he wasn’t a killer himself. Why wouldn’t they (the US government) have been able to eventually track him down and put a few bullets in him?

Unless he was in Russia, China or North Korea it wasn’t as if he was anywhere he couldn’t have been “got.” And even those areas are kind of shaky.

Sorry…but bin Laden’s dead,man.

Although the article goes into a ton more detail than we’ve seen before, it appears to essentially pick up where Ghost Wars by Steve Coll left off. Note the article is adapted from a book that will be released next month.

The USA has had contrary policies about Pakistan for decades, particularly with the CIA and the State Department in disagreement on who should get money from the USA to support US interests.

The USA executive branch and intelligence agencies certainly know enough about Pakistan’s involvement to say they “know it knew.” That’s a different question than what to do about it. I think the USA throwing money at the problem and thinking that buys loyalty, honesty, or whatever else it is supposed to buy, is a ridiculous strategy that has been shown to fail in Pakistan for many years. On the other hand, I’m not sure a hard line would necessarily help either. (See Afghanistan).

What do you mean “support structure”? The war was most certainly about removing al Qaeda, and since ObL was the leader, it was quite a bit about him. Was it only about him? Of course not.

This is hardly a surprise. I doubt there’s anyone who doesn’t think at least part of the ISI was helping to shelter bin Laden. It’s not like he was living in a shack in the woods; he was living in what amounts to a retirement village for the upper echelons of the Pakistani government (or military, which amounts to the same thing.)

I’m not sure why the ISI needs a “motive” for protecting bin Laden. He’s a hero to some in the Muslim world. There are extremists in the ISI as much as (and perhaps moreso) in any other walk of Pakistani life.

I do. Remember, bin Laden arrived in Pakistan at around the same time Musharraf was busy surviving two (three?) assassination attempts and looked quite vulnerable to a coup.

Were I President at the time, I should find it very difficult to not hold a press conference and pull his head out of a bag.
There would certainly be disastrous consequences, but it would be so tempting.

If he was still alive, don’t you think he’d have made a video by now gloating and embarrassing the US? I could see a “Dewey Defeats Truman” type photo op moment.

It isn’t a surprise. It’s long been common knowledge that the Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence practically ran the Taliban, which had a great hand in helping Bin Laden stay hidden, so it would be astonishing if they didn’t know of his whereabouts.

Maybe somebody thought bin Laden’s location would be a useful bargaining chip down the road and was waiting for the right time to sell him out.

Eh. It’s a good theory, but if you’re smart enough to hide bin Laden you’re probably smart enough to know you can’t control the timeline on which he gets found.

That should have said “I don’t”. :smack: