That Osama Bin Laden was found in a mansion 30 miles outside of the capital of Pakistan is shocking.
That the town was the Pakistan equivalent of West Point -- the area housed retired Pakistani army officers, and the mansion was several times bigger than neighboring houses -- is inexcusable.
Before May 1, the general consensus was that Bin Laden was hiding in the caves in the mountainous region located near the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It was understandable, therefore, that Pakistani authorities had trouble finding Bin Laden. After all, even US troops failed to capture Bin Laden in the caves of Tora Bora in Afghanistan.
Now, in light of all the facts that surfaced since the evening of May 1, Pakistan has some serious explaining to do.
First, we know now that at least some people in Pakistan’s government knew exactly where Bin Laden was. There is no way they didn’t under the circumstances detailed above.
What just happened in Pakistan is the equivalent of the US claiming to have ‘lost’ the soldiers responsible for torturing Muslims in the Abu Ghraib prison, and then later these Americans being discovered by Arab forces in a mansion located in West Point, New York.
That hypothetical example just wouldn’t be believable and neither is Pakistan’s claim that it didn’t know where Bin Laden was.
The only question now is how far up the chain of command this cover-up reached. Was it merely a few Pakistani extremists, citizens, and renegade military officials who refused to blow the whistle? Or did the President of Pakistan, the head of Inter-Services Intelligence, and the Army Chief General themselves withhold the information from the US?
Whatever the case, Pakistan’s status as a US ally – already tenuous before May 1 – is irreparably damaged.
At best, a large segment of the Pakistani population isn’t sympathetic to the US. These people likely populated many ranks in the government, military, police, and intelligence services.
Even if the top leadership of Pakistan decided to ally with the US, these people will disobey their top-down directive, continue to work against US interests and harbor many Al-Qaeda terrorists. (If Pakistan harbored Bin Laden, the worst Al-Qaeda criminal in the world, there is no limit to who else they’d be willing to harbor).