Panetta: I Think Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden

Defense chief also calls for release of doctor who helped catch him
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2012 11:19 AM CST

(Newser) – Defense chief Leon Panetta talks about the capture of Osama bin Laden with CBS' 60 Minutes in an interview airing tomorrow, and two main points are generating headlines:

  • Pakistan knew? He suspects government authorities knew bin Laden was in Abbottabad, notes the Hill. "I personally have always felt that somebody must have had some sense of what was happening at this compound," he said. Why? Start with those 18-foot walls. "It was the largest compound in the area. So you would have thought that somebody would have asked the question, ‘What the hell's going on there?’” In fact, the US didn't tip off Pakistan about the raid because it feared word would get out to bin Laden, he added.

  • Doctor's help: Panetta acknowledged that Pakistan doctor Shakeel Afridi provided intelligence—via a vaccination campaign to collect DNA samples from locals, notes CNN—to pinpoint bin Laden's whereabouts. Now he's being held in Pakistan on charges of treason. "I'm very concerned about what the Pakistanis did with this individual," Panetta said, adding that "he was not in any way treasonous towards Pakistan." He called on authorities to release Afridi.
(Read more Leon Panetta stories.)

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