Was Pakistan Harboring Osama? The Evidence

Pakistani media and local residents gather outside the hideout of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, May 1, 2011.
AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images
Osama's outsized, $1 million fortress — surrounded by walls up to 18 feet tall in the heart of the garrison town of Abbottabad, Pakistan, May 1, 2011.
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People are raising a number of questions, and understandably so...about whether or not there was some type of support that was provided by the Pakistani government.

That's the assessment of President Obama's counterterrorism czar John Brennan, who briefed reporters Monday. Brennan added: "It’s inconceivable that bin Laden did not have a support system in the country."

Here, the top three pieces of circumstantial evidence that our frenemy Pakistan was harboring the most wanted man in the world:

1) It's the Location, Stupid

Osama's outsized, $1 million fortress — surrounded by walls up to 18 feet tall, topped with barbed wire — loomed, ostentatiously, in the heart of the garrison town of Abbottabad, just a mile's drive from the Pakistan Military Academy, that nation's version of West Point.

But Abbottabad is not just a stronghold of the Pakistani military, home to three army regiments and myriad retired generals. “The Intelligence Bureau, Military Intelligence, the ISI — they all had a presence there,” the nation's former intelligence chief Hamid Gul told reporters.

2) It's the ISI Connection, Stupid

The site of the bin Laden compound had previously been used by Pakistan's notorious, jihad-friendly intelligence service — the ISI — to shelter intelligence assets, according to the UAE-based newspaper Gulf News:

"This area had been used as ISI's safe house" ... a senior intelligence official confided to Gulf News... Another official cautiously said "it may not be the same house but the same compound or area used by the ISI."

3) It's the Duplicity, Stupid

Pakistan hasn't just played dumb about bin Laden's whereabouts. While accepting billions in U.S. military and humanitarian aid, the country has fuelled the notion that the al Qaeda leader was holed up in the lawless, mountainous border region with Afghanistan. "All the misdirects we've had along the way — the notion that [bin Laden] was out in the western part of the country and they can't control that," Sen John Kerry told NPR. "It raises some very serious questions." 

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