The Cable

Pakistan military denies ISI colonel tipped off U.S. about bin Laden

The head of the Pakistan military’s public relations branch told The Cable that a new book claiming a Pakistani intelligence official tipped off the U.S. government about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden is false. A forthcoming book by journalist Richard Miniter claims that a senior colonel in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate walked into ...

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The head of the Pakistan military’s public relations branch told The Cable that a new book claiming a Pakistani intelligence official tipped off the U.S. government about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden is false.

A forthcoming book by journalist Richard Miniter claims that a senior colonel in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate walked into the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad in Dec ember 2010, five months before the bin Laden raid, and told U.S. officials about bin Laden’s whereabouts. The book also reports that the bin Laden compound was "carved out" of Abbottabad’s Kakul Military Academy and that senior Pakistani military officials may have been briefed on the raid in advance.

Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa, the recently appointed director general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations and the top spokesperson for the Pakistani military and intelligence community, told The Cable by e-mail that Miniter’s story is just wrong.

"This is a fabricated story," he said. "Any such story will not have basis and is an attempt to malign Pakistan and Pakistan Army."

The tale implies that the ISI had some advance knowledge that bin Laden had been hiding in Abbottabad with several members of his family before the May 1, 2011, U.S. raid, Bajwa said.

"You can find twists in [the Miniter story] to show as if Pakistan was helping terrorists, which is incorrect," he said.

Pakistan’s former ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani told a Washington audience Wednesday that although he could not comment on ISI activities the night of the bin Laden raid, he was sure that the civilian government in Pakistan was caught by surprise about the raid and bin Laden’s whereabouts.

But Haqqani called on the Pakistani government to complete its long-promised report on who helped bin Laden and his family hide and survive in a secret compound near a military academy for more than  five years.

"It’s Pakistan’s responsibility to the world to say who did it," Haqqani told an audience at the Center for the National Interest, formerly known as the Nixon Center.  "It doesn’t have to be the government, it doesn’t have to be the military, but whoever it is, we have to come clean on that, because that is the only way we will assure the rest of the world that Pakistan’s government and Pakistan’s state has its hands clean on this whole thing."

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