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"60 Minutes": Death of Bin Laden

The former Seal who goes by the name Mark Owen was on 60 minutes tonight. He said the raid on the Osama bin Laden compound was not a kill mission.

He then describes how they were going up the stairs and had been told to expect one of bin Laden's sons to be there. They saw a figure disappear behind a door. They didn't know who it was. A Seal, on a hunch, whispers "Khalid." The figure peeks around the corner. The Seal shoots him dead. It was Khalid bin Laden.

Owen: “Curiosity killed the cat. I guess Khalid, too.”

But this was not a kill mission.

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33 Years for Pakistani Doctor Who Aided CIA on Bin Laden

Pakistan has sentenced Dr. Shakil Afridi, who aided the CIA in finding Osama Bin Laden to 33 years in prison. The New York Times has more here.

The CIA had asked Afridi to run a fake Hepatitis vaccine program. Details here. Leon Pannetta criticized his arrest on "60 Minutes".

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Osama's Wives, Daughters Sentenced to 45 Days

A court in Pakistan has convicted Osama bin Laden's three wives and two adult daughters of illegally remaining in Pakistan, hiding their identity from authorities and forgery. The court sentenced them to 45 days in detention, after which they will be deported.

Although in custody in a private house since May when Osama was killed, they will get credit for time served since March 3 when they were arrested.

They have two weeks left, and they will serve the sentence at the home where they've been detained, not in prison. They will be allowed to take their minor children with them when they leave. Two of the wives are from Saudi Arabia, and one is from Yemen.

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Pakistan Still Holding Osama bin Laden's Wives and Children

Despite statements months ago by Pakistan that the wives and children present at the Abouutabad compound the night Osama bin Laden was killed would be released and returned to their home countries, Pakistan is still holding them.

The family of Amal al Sadah, Osama bin Laden's youngest wife who is from Yemen, has petitioned the chief justice of Pakistan to order her and her children's release and return to Yemen. Last October, the Pakistani commission that investigated and interviewed the wives recommended they be sent home.

Al Sadah's brother, who has been in Pakistan waiting to take them home, alleges the children and wives are being kept in poor conditions, deprived of adequate medical care and sunlight and that the children are traumatized and have not been allowed to go to school. [More..]

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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.

[More...]

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Osama's Wives Granted Permission to Leave Pakistan, Travel Freely

Pakistan has completed its interviews of Osama bin Laden's wives and children and declared them free to leave Pakistan and travel freely.

The Pakistani Commission also recommended that a physician who worked with the CIA to conduct a fake vaccination program designed to obtain DNA from the citizens of Abbouttabad be charged with treason.

The vaccination ruse has been widely criticized by aid agencies, which have said it could harm legitimate immunization programs in Pakistan. The vaccination team was reported to have gained access bin Laden's house in Abbottabad, but that it didn't confirm bin Laden's presence there.

The U.S. wants Pakistan to allow the doctor to live in the U.S.

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A Mole Inside Bin Laden's Compound?

Yesterday, the Australian reported information from Pakistani officials that the three wives of Osama bin Laden had turned on each other, and the older two were accusing the youngest, Amal Ahmed al-Sadah of Yemen, of betraying Osama bin Laden, either by supplying information or by allowing herself to be tracked to the compound. It read like an episode of Desperate Housewives.

Today, via The Sunday Times of London, the Australian reports the Seals left behind a comprehensive pocket guide, that indeed seems there must have been a mole. And that the Obama Administration's insistence that it wasn't sure Osama would be at the compound was disingenuous, at best. [More...]

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Panetta Writes McCain: CIA Interrogation Did Not Reveal Osama's Courier

Glenn Sargent at The Plum Line obtained a copy of the May 9th letter CIA Chief Leon Panetta wrote John McCain. He quotes three paragraphs:

Nearly 10 years of intensive intelligence work led the CIA to conclude that Bin Ladin was likely hiding at the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. there was no one “essential and indispensible” key piece of information that led us to this conclusion. Rather, the intelligence picture was developed via painstaking collection and analysis. Multiple streams of intelligence — including from detainees, but also from multiple other sources — led CIA analysts to conclude that Bin Ladin was at this compound. Some of the detainees who provided useful information about the facilitator/courier’s role had been subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques. Whether those techniques were the “only timely and effective way” to obtain such information is a matter of debate and cannot be established definitively. What is definitive is that that information was only a part of multiple streams of intelligence that led us to Bin Ladin.

[More...]

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Robert Gates on "60 Minutes": He Had Doubts About Osama bin Laden Raid

Defense Secretary Robert Gates was on "60 Minutes" tonight. He said he had doubts about the intelligence information that Osama bin Laden was at the Abbouttabad compound.

While he had confidence in the SEALs before the mission, Gates told us he was very nervous about the intelligence on the mission. "I was very concerned, frankly. I had real reservations about the intelligence. My worry was the level of uncertainty about whether bin Laden was even in the compound. There wasn't any direct evidence that he was there. It was all circumstantial. But it was the best information that we had since probably 2001," he explained.

"And did you feel you had to strike while the iron was hot, if you will?" (Katie) Couric asked. "I think everybody agreed that we needed to act and act pretty promptly," he replied.

Gates also had a lot of praise for President Obama: [More...]

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U.S. Interviews Osama Bin Laden's Wives

Pakistan allowed U.S. officials to interview the three wives of Osama bin Laden who were at the compound in Abbottabad during the raid that killed Osama.

The wives were described as "hostile." Why wouldn't they be? All three lost a husband, one (or two, depending on which inconsistent report you believe) lost a son, and one was shot in the leg.

Reportedly, the eldest of the three wives spoke for the group. That would be Khairia Saaba, otherwise known as Umm Hamzah, who is 7 years older than Osama and the mother of the missing or dead or captured Hamza bin Laden. [More....]

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Osama's Diary: Nothing Operational

What a faux headline from the AP, "Diary: Bin Laden eyed new targets, big body count." From the body of the article:

Intelligence officials have not identified any new planned targets or plots in their initial analysis of the 100 or so flash drives and five computers that Navy SEALs hauled away after killing bin Laden.

....Officials have not yet seen any indication that bin Laden had the ability to coordinate timing of attacks across the various al-Qaida affiliates in Pakistan, Yemen, Algeria, Iraq and Somalia.

They can't even conclude AQAP and the other al Qaida groups paid attention to his musings. AQAP is far more relevant and operational than Osama. [More...]

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What's Holding Up U.S. Interrogation of Osama bin Laden's Wives?

Pakistan and the U.S. say they are still in dialogues over the U.S. "interviews" of Osama bin Laden's three wives. What's holding it up and why does Pakistan say it has not yet received a formal request for access?

My guess: The U.S. is not just asking for permission to interview the women in Pakistan. It wants to extradite them to the U.S. for interrogation. The State Department is now making statements about the women and the interview requests. Why would they be involved if extradition was not on the horizon? State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said yesterday: [More....]

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What Happened to Hamza bin Laden?

The Telegraph (UK) is reporting that Osama bin Laden's son, Hamza bin Laden, may have escaped from the compound during the raid at Abbottabad. ABC News reports Hamza is unaccounted for. (More on the Hamza confusion here and here.)

Hamza, who reportedly was living at the compound, along with his mother who is in Pakistani custody, has not been accounted for. Some say he was removed by the commandos along with Osama bin Laden -- with conflicting reports on whether he was dead or alive when captured. [More...]

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Diverging Reports on Whether Pakistan Will Allow U.S. Access to Osama bin Laden's Wives

Bump and Update: CNN reports a U.S. official has confirmed that the other two wives in the Osama bin Laden compound are, as I have been speculating for a few days, Khairia Saaba otherwise known as Umm Hamzah and Siham Sabar, also known as Umm Khalid. CNN reports a Pakistani intelligence source has told them today that Pakistan will allow the U.S. to interview (interrogate) the wives only if their home countries approve. (Yemen and Saudi Arabia are the home countries.) The AP reports differently, and says Pakistan will allow the U.S. to question the wives.

Original Post: Pakistan to Send Bin Laden's Widow Back to Yemen

The U.S. may not get its wish to interrogate the 29 year old widow of Osama bin Laden, Aml Ahmed Abdul Al-Fatah Al-Sada of Yemen. Pakistan officials say she will be returned to Yemen after they complete their questioning of her.[More...]

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Pakistan's Prime Minister Addresses Parliament on Osama bin Laden Raid

Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani addressed the country's Parliament today. He said the unilateral raid on Osama bin Laden's compound was regrettable. Pakistan will conduct an investigation into how Osama hid in Abbottabad for so long. He also said in the future, "any attack on strategic assets would be retaliated with full force."

Gilani said "the US used its technological ability to evade Pakistan’s radar system." He also called for more information sharing, and "an end to the blame game."

He also denied Pakistani ISI was in cahoots with Osama or al Qaeda: [More...]

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