Bin Laden raid’s timing ‘was connected to Pakistan’s A-bomb programme’.
There are suggestions that – far from taking the decision to attack OBL’s compound after a lengthy stakeout – President Obama took the decision quickly….having known for a considerable time precisely where the late Al Q’eida boss was holed up. And that disturbing intelligence about advances at Pakistan’s atomic weapons centre played a decisive role in his decision to take out Bin Laden.
Eight days ago, a Newsweek exclusive got the scoop on satellite images obtained by the American security services, showing unequivocal evidence of a massive step-up in the speed of Pakistan’s progress towards having a deliverable nuclear weapon. Although technically Islamic rather than Islamist as a State, Pakistan looks likely to become the world’s first Muslim member of the Atomic club….certainly, long before Iran does.
Yesterday morning, a leading German newspaper refuted the idea of Abbottabad as a sleepy backwater. A report from the town in Northern Pakistan by Der Spiegel added fuel to the theory that most security services knew where Bin Laden was. In fact, the Spiegel piece suggests strongly that Abbottabad itself has been recognised for years as a meeting place for Al Q’eida operatives – a place where those on the run could find succour – and a nerve centre for Pakistani elite military training.
A few months ago, the allegedly ‘sleepy town’ played host to Umar Patek, the presumed mastermind behind the bomb attacks in Bali nine years ago — a man who has a US$1 million bounty on his head. Der Spiegel asked if the bomber was ‘on his way to meet up with bin Laden’ when he was arrested by the Pakistanis. Certainly, this is what Indonesia’s defence minister claimed two weeks ago.
US Intelligence had, it has been alleged, been anxious for some time about the proximity of Islamist terrorists to Pakistan’s military and training facilities in Abbottabad. Says Der Spiegel (my italics):
‘This city of 150,000 in the Himalayan foothills is home to a military academy and elite schools. For years, it enjoyed a reputation for being a peaceful oasis….but the city of Abbottabad, this place where two of the kingpins of global terror had found refuge, isn’t what it seems. It is here that Pakistan’s army, propped up as it is by US military assistance, has its most elite training academy – a mere 900 meters from where bin Laden was living…”
The Slog is fascinated by this report, because it confirms what I learned from a UK-based military source shortly after the raid: that American advisers “regularly visit the academy”. My source opined, “It seems to me unlikely that the US didn’t know Bin Laden was there. Everyone knew Bin Laden was there”.
He went on to tell me:
“I doubt if Obama cared that much about nailing Bin Laden really. I think his main objective was to show he could act at will if the Pakistanis got any fancy ideas about letting Islamist nations in on their nuclear progress”. This is reflected in the actions of the Seals in destroying the converted, cutting-edge Black Hawk helicopter for fear it might fall into the wrong hands: although as we’ve seen, this wasn’t entirely successful.
If the prior knowledge + A-Bomb motivation story is true, then The Slog may well have underestimated President Obama. But is it really credible that the US Government had known for years where Osama Bin Laden was?
The Slog posted recently that a British couple travelling in the region were allegedly warned off a hotel because it was “too close to Bin Laden’s compound”. And the same military source quoted earlier had suggested to me some time ago that the SAS probably established where Bin Laden was some time in 2005.
Either way, Umar Patek didn’t stay hidden for long. On Jan. 25, 2011, ISI officers arrested the Indonesian. Although caught just two miles from OBL’s hideout, Pakistan’s secret police hunted him down in three weeks flat: but allegedly didn’t know where Global Enemy Number One was for over six years.
On a lighter note, Washington wags suggest that the CIA has been cooperating with the Polish secret service about where Joe Biden is hiding out. Well it made me laugh anyway.