U.S. senator questions Pakistani intelligence knowledge of bin Laden’s whereabouts

Pakistani military and intelligence officials should answer many questions to prove that they did not know where Osama bin Laden had been hiding before he was killed in a U.S. raid on Monday, a senior U.S. senator said.

The compound where the al-Qaeda leader was killed is located about 100 meters from a Pakistani military academy in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, which has raised questions whether the Pakistani military could know where the world’s most wanted terrorist was hiding.

“There isn’t any question that Pakistani officials, army and intelligence have a lot of questions to answer, given the location of the compound, the length of time he was there and that this facility was apparently built for bin Laden,” Carl Levin, D-Mich., who heads the U.S. Senate’s Armed Services Committee, told journalists in Washington on Monday.

Controversial statements by U.S. and Pakistani officials over the raid make it difficult to assess the contribution of the Pakistani intelligence and military to the killing of bin Laden.

After U.S. President Barack Obama announced the death of bin Laden, U.S. intelligence officials told journalists in Washington that the Pakistani authorities had not been informed about the raid being prepared by the U.S. military.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said later on Monday that a “close cooperation” with Pakistani special services helped the United States to “achieve our targets.”

The statement came amid media reports that a Pakistani helicopter had been shot down by unknown people close to bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad before two U.S. helicopters flew to the site.

A photo of the crashed helicopter was published on the Internet, and witnesses were quoted by media reports as saying that they had seen the wreckage. Obama said no U.S. troops have been killed in the operation.

Some military experts said the United States was unlikely to have informed the Pakistani authorities about the planned operation, because otherwise bin Laden would have escaped as a result of information leaks.

WASHINGTON, May 2 (RIA Novosti)

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