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Feinstein ‘rumor’: Pakistan lost the files on Osama’s compound

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said on Tuesday that the Pakistani government may have lost the paperwork that would explain how a compound was bought and built in Abbotabad to house Osama bin Laden for over five years. Feinstein, the head of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is being more careful lately not to spill ...

Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said on Tuesday that the Pakistani government may have lost the paperwork that would explain how a compound was bought and built in Abbotabad to house Osama bin Laden for over five years.

Feinstein, the head of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is being more careful lately not to spill classified intelligence when talking in committee meetings or with reporters. But in a brief Tuesday interview with The Cable in the hallways of the Capitol building, she said she was very suspicious of "rumors" that Pakistan had misplaced the records regarding the bin Laden safe house.

Asked by The Cable if she had seen any evidence that senior Pakistani government officials had been involved in the hiding of bin Laden, Feinstein paused, thought for a moment, and then gave a very careful response.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said on Tuesday that the Pakistani government may have lost the paperwork that would explain how a compound was bought and built in Abbotabad to house Osama bin Laden for over five years.

Feinstein, the head of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is being more careful lately not to spill classified intelligence when talking in committee meetings or with reporters. But in a brief Tuesday interview with The Cable in the hallways of the Capitol building, she said she was very suspicious of "rumors" that Pakistan had misplaced the records regarding the bin Laden safe house.

Asked by The Cable if she had seen any evidence that senior Pakistani government officials had been involved in the hiding of bin Laden, Feinstein paused, thought for a moment, and then gave a very careful response.

"I don’t understand how somebody could buy the land for $48,000, get the building permits, get a contractor, build for a period of time what is essentially the largest home compound in the area, where somebody lives for five years, and nobody asks who’s there or finds out who’s there," she said.

Then she offered this fascinating tidbit:

"I understand it’s very difficult to go back and find the records, that they suddenly disappeared. That’s not a positive sign either," she said.

Pressed by The Cable on how she knew that the bin Laden files had been lost, she said, "That’s what the rumor is… I didn’t hear this from [the] intel [community]."

Feinstein also criticized Pakistan for reportedly arresting five CIA informants who helped set up the bin Laden raid, and said it was problematic that Pakistan seems to be warning militants that U.S. strikes are coming.

"According to the Army Times, at least four mutually agreed upon targets, the Pakistani side has alerted the target, and the target has cleared out," she said, again attributing the information to open sources. "Put together, those are not hopeful signs."

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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