The Michigan Democrat declares that Pakistan’s military and intelligence services have much to answer for, especially given the fact that Osama was in a luxurious compound very near a military base.
“I think the Pakistani army and intelligence have a lot of questions to answer – the location, the length of time and the apparent fact that this facility was actually built for bin Laden and it’s close to the central location of the Pakistani army,” Levin said.
“I think the army and the intelligence of Pakistan – there are plenty of questions that they should be answering … hopefully they are being asked by the Pakistani government.”
Top US officials are now wondering if Pakistan had been protecting Osama before he was found and killed by US special forces in the town of Abbottabad.
Levin himself suggested that Pakistan’s security agents might have been aware of Osama’s presence in their country since at least last summer.
Noting that Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari released a “very reassuring statement” regarding the death of bin Laden, he added that Zardari needs to ask “some very tough questions of his own military and his own intelligence. They have got a lot of explaining to do.”
Levin also was irate that Osama was living in apparent luxury and security.
“[Osama] was living in comfort for many years in a big place that he had arranged for himself many, many years ago,” Levin said.
“This is a victory, but it’s not the final victory over terrorists.”
Senators. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), the heads of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, echoed Levin’s concerns.
“My own experience with the Pakistanis is that is it one of the most complicated– maybe the most complicated — security-intelligence relationship with any nation in the world,” Lieberman said.
“I think this tells us once again that unfortunately Pakistan is playing a double game and that’s very troubling to me,” Collins said. Collins added that Congress should reconsider its aid packages to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada said that Osama’s death is unlikely to influence the 2012 funding levels for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I don’t think that will have a direct impact,” Reid said, but added that he is “cautiously optimistic” that Osama’s death represents a turning point in the war on terror.