Hundreds of al Qaeda supporters have taken to the streets to protest the Pakistani government’s alleged involvement in the Osama bin Laden’s death. This may bolster Pakistan’s claims that it was unaware bin Laden was living in Abbotabad, a military garrison town, despite the fact that the terror chief reportedly spent the past five or six years there.
But it’s still hard to imagine that bin Laden could have been living in such a conspicuous fashion for so many years without raising any suspicion from the Pakistani military. His compound was eight times the size of other homes in the neighborhood. He burned his trash instead of leaving it out for pickup like his neighbors. And despite the $1 million pricetag of his house, there were reportedly no phone lines that ran into the compound.
Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari wrote a column in today’s Washington Post denying that he had been aware of the terror leader’s location, but he also failed to address how Pakistani intelligence could have failed so miserably.
“Some in the U.S. press have suggested that Pakistan lacked vitality in its pursuit of terrorism, or worse yet that we were disingenuous and actually protected the terrorists we claimed to be pursuing,” Zardari wrote. “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.”
That may be the case, but even Brennan said today that the U.S. will launch an investigation into the situation.
“[I]t would be premature to rule out the possibility [that Pakistan was assisting bin Laden],” Brennan said on NPR this morning. “[W]e’re not accusing anybody at this point, but we want to make sure we get to the bottom of this.”