Last week, before a closed session of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a senior CIA official was asked to rate — on a scale of 1-to-10 — Pakistan’s level of cooperation with the United States on counter-terrorism operations. “Three” he responded.
He might want to subtract “three” from that number today.
The New York Times this morning reports that “Pakistan’s top military spy agency has arrested some of the Pakistani informants who fed information to the Central Intelligence Agency in the months leading up to the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, according to American officials.”
One is not quite sure what to make of this information. SInce 9/11, the United States has provided Pakistan with more than $20 billion in aid, as well as many billions more in “in kind” military and intelligence support. In return, Pakistan has now arrested five people who helped the United States track down a mass murderer who engineered the slaughter of roughly 3000 US citizens and foreign nationals.
To call Pakistan’s behaviour “insulting” doesn’t really do it justice. It’s almost an act of war. It requires a stern US response, beginning with an unconditional demand that all of the Pakistanis who helped us locate Osama bin Laden be released immediately. If the US does not stand by the men who helped bring its most vicious enemy to justice, then it sends the worst possible message to its friends around the world: “when things get tough, we will abandon you.”
The only leading American political figure who has had anything sensible to say on this issue is, of all people, Newt Gingrich. This is what he said on Fox News this morning:
“We’ve given Pakistan $20 billion [in assistance] since 9/11. It’s very clear large parts of the Pakistani establishment are deeply anti-American. We should be angry that they were, in fact, hiding bin Laden. And instead of saying, ‘Boy, this is really great,’ they’re now saying, ‘How can you embarrass us by killing him on our territory’ when apparently they were protecting him? When the Pakistani reaction is to punish the people who are helping America, I think we better rethink our entire relationship.”
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