Pakistan Security Brief

White House revises original account of bin Laden raid; Navy Seals grabbed “mother lode of intelligence;” Bin Laden compound’s next-door neighbor arrested; U.S. Congressmen urge evaluation of U.S.-Pakistani relationship; Pakistan officials call raid “unauthorized unilateral action;” U.S. pushes Pakistan for answers; Islamist leaders condemn killing; Three NATO vehicles attacked; Seven LI militants killed in security operation.

Frederick Kagan’s Testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence hearing entitled, "The Threat to the U.S. Homeland Emanating from Pakistan."


Osama’s bin Laden’s Death: the Story Develops

  • The White House, in a press briefing on Tuesday, revised its initial account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden early on Monday morning. White House spokesman Jay Carney said that bin Laden was not carrying a weapon when he was killed, contrary to earlier reports which stated that he had been armed. Moreover, Carney refuted an earlier statement that bin Laden’s wife had been used as a human shield and was killed in the raid. White House officials said the “discrepancies resulted from their haste to provide details about a chaotic, fast-moving military operation to an intensely interested American public. As more of the assault team’s 79 members were debriefed, and their accounts were crosschecked with those of other team members, there were bound to be changes in the account.”[i]

  • During the raid, the force of Navy SEALs grabbed computer drives and disks, gathering what a U.S. official called “the mother lode of intelligence.” The CIA has set up a task force to analyze the ten hard drives, five computers and more than 100 storage devices. U.S. intelligence officials are hoping that the data will provide more information on the whereabouts of al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri as well as elucidate how bin Laden resided in Pakistan for so long undetected. Counterterrorism advisor John Brennan said, “(Intelligence experts) are trying to determine themselves whether or not there were individuals within the Pakistani government or military intelligence services who were knowledgeable about bin Laden's residence there and whether or not they were providing support." [ii]

  • Shamrez Khan, a next-door neighbor to the bin-Laden compound, was arrested in the hours following the raid. Military officials did not confirm the arrest, though local neighbors substantiated the detainment. Meanwhile, the contractor who allegedly constructed the compound where bin Laden was staying was also arrested by Pakistani security officials on Wednesday morning.[iii]

  • On Tuesday, senior U.S. Congressmen urged the Obama administration to re-evaluate America’s relationship with Pakistan and threatened to defer $1.3 billion of annual aid to the country “if it’s established that Pakistani intelligence officials helped lodge Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.” Meanwhile, other lawmakers warned against severing ties with Islamabad. Senator John McCain stated, “To try to assist them and try to move towards democracy in my view is a very difficult … path but extremely (necessary). The other options are not really viable. For a ten-year period we cut off relations with Pakistan, things got worse. And so to do that obviously would not be the answer.”[iv]


Pakistan Responds

  • On Tuesday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry released a statement calling the raid that killed Osama bin Laden “unauthorized unilateral action.” The statement furthermore said that “This event of [unauthorized] unilateral action cannot be taken as a rule. The government of Pakistan further affirms that such an event shall not serve as a future precedent for any state, including the US. Such actions undermine cooperation and may also some time constitute threat to international peace and security.” The statement came after a meeting between Washington’s envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Marc Grossman, the head of the Pakistani army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and the chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha.  An unidentified U.S. administration official said, “The Pakistanis have been told by the Americans that the temperature is rising in Washington and the reaction has been silence.”[v]

  • Obama administration officials have pushed Pakistan to provide answers to questions on Osama bin Laden and his lengthy residence in Abbottabad, including information on the compound, witnesses, neighbors, and bin Laden's associates who survived the raid. While many officials and lawmakers have questioned “whether there were individuals within the Pakistani government or military intelligence services who were knowledgeable,” the Washington Post reports that for now, Washington has accepted what seems to be “genuine surprise” articulated by Pakistani officials on bin Laden’s presence. CIA Director Leon Panetta on Tuesday told Congressmen that either Pakistan was involved or incompetent. Neither place is a good place to be."[vi]

  • The head of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, has condemned the killing of bin Laden, criticizing what he called “’illegal interference into Pakistani territory’ by American military forces.” Other Islamist leaders such as Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami (JUI-S) chief Maulana Asad Thanvi and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) head Hafiz Saeed have also publicly condemned the killing.[vii]




[i] Mark Landler and Helene Cooper, “New U.S. Account SDays Bin Laden Was Unarmed During Raid,” New York Times, May 3, 2011. Available at
[ii] Joshua Norman, “Treasure trove of al Qaeda intel combed for gold,” CBS News, May 3, 2011. Available at
[iii] “Pakistani neighbour of bin Laden arrested: police,” AFP May 3, 2011. Available at
[iv] Anwar Iqbal, “US lawmakers threaten to suspend aid,” Dawn, May 4, 2011. Available at
[v] Jane Perlez and David Rohde, “Pakistan Pushes Back Against U.S. Criticism on Bin Laden,” New York Times, May 3, 2011. Available at
[vi] Karen DeYoung and Karin Brulliard, “U.S. presses Pakistan for information on Osama bin Laden compound,” Washington Post, May 3, 2011. Available at
[vii] Rana Tanveer and Salman Siddiqui, “SSP, JuD call Osama Bin Laden a ‘martyr,’ Express Tribune, May 3, 2011. Available at
[viii] “Militants destroy 3 Nato oil tankers,” Dawn, May 4, 2011. Available at
[ix] “Militants destroy 3 Nato oil tankers,” Dawn, May 4, 2011. Available at
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