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US feared Pakistan might 'alert' bin Laden

[ 2011-05-05 11:17]     字号 [] [] []  
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CIA Director Leon Panetta said in an interview on Tuesday that officials ruled out informing Islamabad about a planned raid against Osama bin Laden's compound as they feared their Pakistani counterparts might alert the al-Qaida chief.

Panetta told Time magazine that "it was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardize the mission: They might alert the targets".

For years Pakistan's government denied suspicions that bin Laden was hiding inside its borders, but a US assault force found him a mere 50 kilometers from the Pakistani capital living near a military academy.

The operation has highlighted tensions between Washington and Islamabad, with Pakistan's foreign ministry on Tuesday criticizing the "unauthorized unilateral" raid.

A strongly worded Pakistani government statement warned the US not to launch similar operations in the future. It rejected suggestions that officials knew where bin Laden was.

Still, there were other revelations that pointed to prior knowledge that the compound was linked to al-Qaida.

Pakistani intelligence agencies hunting for a top al-Qaida operative raided the house in 2003, according to a senior officer, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with the spy agency's policy.

The house was just being built at the time of the raid by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, and Abu Faraj al-Libi, al-Qaida's No 3, was not there, the official said.

US officials have said al-Libi once lived in the house and that information from him played a role in tracking the al-Qaida chief down. Al-Libi was arrested by Pakistani police after a shootout in 2005 and he was later handed over to US authorities.

The Pakistani officer said he didn't know why bin Laden would choose a house that already had been compromised.


(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

US feared Pakistan might 'alert' bin Laden

About the broadcaster:

US feared Pakistan might 'alert' bin Laden

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.