President Obama: Osama bin Laden probably had support network in Pakistan

 

Pakistani policemen walk

Pakistani policemen walk past a compound, surrounded in red fabric, where locals reported a firefight took place overnight in Abbotabad, located in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province May 2, 2011. Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan on Sunday, ending a nearly 10-year worldwide hunt for the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. Obama said U.S. forces led a targeted operation that killed bin Laden in Abbotabad north of Islamabad

Yahoo News reported today:

 Osama bin Laden likely had “some sort” of a support network inside Pakistan, President Barack Obama said on Sunday, but added it will take investigations by Pakistan and the United States to find out the nature of that support.

Obama’s interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” program comes a week after bin Laden was killed by U.S. commandos in a garrison town a short drive from Islamabad, raising questions about whether Pakistan’s government had known of the al Qaeda leader’s whereabouts.

“We think that there had to be some sort of support network for bin Laden inside of Pakistan. But we don’t know who or what that support network was,” Obama said.

“We don’t know whether there might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government, and that’s something that we have to investigate, and more importantly, the Pakistani government has to investigate,” he added.

Asked whether he did not warn the Pakistani government or the military, or even the Pakistani intelligence community, of the impending raid, because he did not trust them, Obama replied:

I didn’t tell most people here in the White House. I didn’t tell my own family. It was that important for us to maintain operational security. If I’m not revealing to some of my closest aides what we’re doing, then I sure as heck am not going to be revealing it to folks who I don’t know.”

Obama said he agonized over the decision to go ahead with the mission for fear of the loss of American life and because it was inside sovereign Pakistan.

“And so if it turns out that it’s a wealthy, you know, prince from Dubai who’s in this compound and, you know, we’ve sent special forces in — we’ve got problems,” he said.

But he added: “The one thing I didn’t lose sleep over was the possibility of taking bin Laden out. Justice was done. And I think that anyone who would question that the perpetrator of mass murder on American soil — didn’t deserve what he got needs to have their head examined.”

Pakistan’s government has “indicated they have a profound interest in finding out what kinds of support networks bin Laden might have had,” Obama said. “But … it’s going to take some time for us to be able to exploit the intelligence that we were able to gather on site.”

(Additional reporting by Kamran Haider in Chak Shah Mohammad and Chris Allbritton in Islamabad; Steve Holland in Washington; Writing by John Chalmers; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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