CIA Director Panetta Feared Pakistan Would 'Jeopardize the Mission' to Kill Bin Laden
"They might alert the targets," Panetta told 'Time' magazine.
12:00 AM, May 4, 2011 • By BILL ROGGIO
In the wake of Osama bin Laden's death at the hands of a covert U.S. assault force, there has been plenty of specualtion in the U.S. press about Pakistan's involvement in sheltering the terror chief, followed by denials from Pakistan. But in an interview with Time magazine, CIA director Leon Panetta issued perhaps the most telling statement that shows just how little the U.S. trusts Pakistan's military and intelligence services.
There are three points to keep in mind. First, any U.S. contact with Pakistan would occur at the highest levels. In this case, it would likely be with General Kayani, Pakistan's chief of staff for the army, and General Pasha, the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence. So the CIA was concerned that the top leaders, or their direct aides, would notify bin Laden that a raid would take place.
Second, Panetta chose his words carefully. He didn't say the U.S. feared that news of the raid would be leaked; instead, Panetta says that the U.S. was concered that Pakistanis would "alert the targets."
Third, in order for Pakistani officials to "alert the targets," they would first have to be able to get in touch with them.