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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Former CIA Chief: Israel helped the USA locate Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan

Former CIA chief John Brennan has admitted in an interview that Israel had helped the USA in locating Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan

Former CIA chief John Brennan in an interview with Haaretz former CIA chief John Brennan has admitted that Israel helped in locating Osama Bin Laden.

The late Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, leader had been killed in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad in a joint US military and CIA operation, and they had received intel from Israel. Pakistan subsequently had denied any knowledge of

The former chief explained that years of planning and efforts had gone into the operation that was ‘mostly US-led.’

Israel helped the USA locate Osama Bin Laden

“And the thousands of bits of pieces of intelligence do include some which were provided by the Israelis as a result of their intelligence operations,” he said.

A Pakistani commission created to look into the incident, which it called the “greatest humiliating” since the secession of its eastern wing in the 1971 war, underscored a major failure on the part of its intelligence apparatus.

PTI government creates NICC to mitigate intelligence shortcomings

Since then however, the PTI government has created the National Intelligence Coordination Committee (NICC). The NICC the liaison body for the country’s over two dozen intelligence agencies got its approval early last month.

The new body would be led by the director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), who would function as its chairman.

The NICC is expected to serve as a mechanism to coordinate the over two dozen intelligence organizations in the country. National Counter Terrorism Authority is also part of the new structure.

The move was part of the much-sought-after reformation of the intelligence apparatus, which aims at clarifying the role of respective agencies, improving their coordination, and optimizing their capabilities.

One lesson that Pakistan’s intelligence, the military community learned during operations against terrorism and the killing of Osama Bin Laden is that intelligence coordination had been poor albeit intelligence collection had been efficient.

In fact, as per sources, it was thus concurred that it was the weakest link in the fight against terrorism in the country.

Thus the NICC was an important step in making sure that the different intel-gathering agencies of the country coordinated effectively in order to mitigate embarrassing incidents such as the operation against Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad.

A leaked version of the Abbottabad Commission’s report had revealed that the commission, while noting the absence of civil-military intelligence coordination mechanism, too had proposed the establishment of an agency on the lines of the US Department of Homeland Security to ‘synergize’ the working of main spy agencies in the country.

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Abbottabad Commission was set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the killing of Osama bin Laden in a US raid on a compound in Abbottabad in 2011.

Although the report has not been officially declassified, it reportedly made 32 wide-ranging recommendations to address the issues identified during the course of its investigation on the basis of testimonies by key civilian and military functionaries; intel coordination was one of them.

US Navy Seals flew from neighboring Afghanistan in helicopters in the early hours of May 2, 2011,  and over the next 40 minutes killed Bin Laden and whisked his body away. By the time Pakistani jets scrambled, the US soldiers had already crossed the border.

Pakistan arrested and jailed Shakil Afridi, a doctor who helped the CIA collect blood samples from Bin Laden’s family members under the garb of an immunization campaign.

The use of vaccination as a conduit to confirm the location of Osama Bin Laden also hindered the progress of Pakistan’s fight against polio, as the local population subsequently looked at vaccines with suspicion and superstition.

Dangerous precedent

Speaking about the assassination of Iranian general and military leader Qassem Solaimani the former CIA chief said that the Trump administration had set a dangerous precedent.

He said that sovereign nation assassinating the general might create a new crisis in the Middle East.  “It’s dangerous for one sovereign state to decide to kill a senior official of another sovereign state. What type of signals does that send other countries? What would happen if the Chinese or the Russians decided to do that?”

Brennan’s interview was conducted a few days before the targeted assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

But in a tweet, he called the assassination “highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict.”

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He also spoke about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling him a “very typical of a politician.”

“I do not believe that honesty or his word are his strong suits. He is, as I said, a strong political operative who will change his views, his position, and not follow through on his commitments if he feels it’s in his best political interest not to.”

Brennan says that while the threat Israel faces from Iran is real, Netanyahu has also used it to his political advantage.

GVS News Desk