CIA Chief Names Groups Behind Bhutto Assassination

Pakistani militants, al-Qaeda blamed
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2008 12:41 PM CST
CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007, for a closed-door hearing of the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The CIA director blames a cooperative effort by al-Qaeda and a group of Pakistani militants for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the Washington Post reports. The conclusion jibes with the explanation Pervez Musharraf has offered, though some Pakistanis still suspect the president and his government had a hand in the ex-PM’s murder.

Michael Hayden cites the assassination as more evidence of a disturbing increase in coordination between al-Qaeda and forces loyal to militant tribal leader Baitullah Mehsud. The spymaster described the attack on Bhutto as "part of an organized campaign.” But other US administration officials remain unconvinced. One characterized the CIA’s assessment as "a very good assumption.”