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Obama’s top counterterrorism official John Brennan conceded today that Osama bin Laden would not have been able to hide out in an expensive compound 30 miles northeast of Islamabad, just kilometers away from a Pakistani military training centre, without some kind of help from inside Pakistan.”It’s inconcievable that bin Laden did not have a support system in the country that allowed him to remain there for an extended period of time,” Brennan said during a press briefing. “I think people are raising a number of questions, and understandably so.”
His comments stand in marked contrast to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s praise for Pakistan’s cooperation in the operations. Brennan confirmed that Pakistan was not informed of the U.S. raid on bin Laden’s compound until after American forces had Pakistani airspace Sunday.
The subtext of Brennan’s remarks, of course, is that bin Laden’s death has exposed the corruption and duplicity of Pakistan, a supposed “friend” that received billions in U.S. counterterrorism aid while simultaneously harboring the world’s most wanted terrorist.
As David Rothkopf at Foreign Policy points out, last night’s events are a watershed moment in U.S.-Pakistani relations. The U.S. will now be forced acknowledge that the greatest security threat is now no longer bin Laden but the country that sheltered him for years.