Is Panetta Helping or Sealing the Fate of the CIA's Pakistani Accomplice?

Bump: In an interview on "60 Minutes" tonight, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta criticizes Pakistan for arresting Shakil Afridi, the doctor that the CIA asked to run a fake vaccine program in hopes of getting DNA to confirm Osama bin Laden's presence at the Abbottabad compound. An inquiry commission in Pakistan has since recommended that Dr. Afridi be charged with high treason. Panetta says Pakistan should release Afridi:

“For them to take this kind of action against somebody who was helping to go after terrorism, I just think is a real mistake on their part.


Of course, the US knew Pakistan wouldn't be "with it" on the Osama bin Laden takedown. Panetta acknowledges:

[O]ne of the reasons the Obama administration did not notify Pakistan’s government before the Navy Seal raid last May was that American spy agencies had previously spotted Pakistani military helicopters flying over the compound and were concerned that Pakistani authorities might tip off Bin Laden.

In Davos today, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani confirmed Pakistan's objections to the raid:

“The unilateral action taken in Abbottabad, that was not liked in any quarter … We need assurances that such a unilateral action will not be repeated in the future. There is a trust deficit.”

What's "high treason" in Pakistan? According to Al Arabyia News:

Under Article 6 of the 1973 Pakistani constitution, the laws largely dictate that high treason is determined by the criminal spying on their military, its diplomats, or its secret services for a foreign power. In this case, Afridi had indeed worked for a foreign power and is now being referred to as a “CIA agent” across international media reports.

Although it remains unclear whether any spying on the country’s security forces was involved, it could be that the Pakistani court is clutching at the notion that Afridi kept his involvement quiet from the Pakistani government. It is then that Afridi could face execution.

Apparently, the inquiry into Afridi continues. Two weeks ago, Pakistan's commission interviewed Family Planning Primary Healthcare Coordinator Dr Ihsanullah Turabi. That's where Afridi was working.

How is Panetta's telling the world Dr. Afridi was a CIA operative going to help Afridi in Pakistan? And how does he advance the doctor's cause by telling the world that he thinks Pakistan knew where bin Laden was hiding?

"I personally have always felt that somebody must have had some sense of what-- what was happening at this compound. Don't forget, this compound had 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?'" Panetta tells Pelley.

In related news, Joe Biden reveals that Panetta was the only member of the "inner circle" that advised Obama to give the order for Osama's takedown.

Biden admitted that he had tried to stop Obama from giving a green signal to the mission because he felt that the administration should first ascertain whether Bin Laden was actually hiding in the compound.

“He went around the table with all the senior people. … Every single person in that room hedged their bet except Leon Panetta. Leon said, ‘go.’ Everyone else said 49, 51 (percent in favor),” Fox News quoted Biden, as saying.

< Anti-Drug War Film Wins Sundance Best Documentary | Sunday Night TV and Open Thread >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    It has become (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 04:07:35 PM EST
    totally apparent that Pakistan is taking our money and doing little to nothing for it.

    Hopefully Panetta's comments are approved by Obama and will be understood by Pakistan's leaders to be a shot across their bow.

    I don't know that there is any help for him (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 05:44:43 PM EST
    It took awhile to understand the lay of the land, but eventually WE GOT IT, and any officer in the Pakistani military that was seriously working with us against the Taliban and Haqqani was assassinated by someone on the inside of the Pakistani military.  To aid us will be your death in Pakistan.

    They are all idiot politicians preening for News. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Mon Jan 30, 2012 at 12:33:02 AM EST
    The administration has already let out even more secret and delicate information for the new "movie" to come out before the 2012 election.

    I don't care who it is, Bush or Obama, or any of them.
    These guys have to take credit for the military successes, even to the point of giving the store away as to methods, secrets, tricks, and deceptions.  All for a moment in the video.

    "Hey this is how we sneaked into ..."
    "Hey this is how we fooled their radar..."
    "Hey these people helped us at great risk..."

    Where did "no comment" go?  Anything else is a giveaway.

    I knew we wouldn't get a simple, "we got Osama, and that is all we have to say" but really, it just piles on, and piles on.