WASHINGTON: There is no reason to believe that anyone in the highest ranks of the Pakistan government knew about the location of slain al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, the White House has said.
A day after a major American daily claimed that the top ISI leadership knew about the presence of bin Laden inside the country, the White House maintained its earlier stance.
“As US officials have said, we have no reason to believe that anyone in the highest levels of the government knew about the location of bin Laden. That continues to be true,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Laura Lucas Magnuson said, when asked about the news report.
Ever since the bin Laden was killed by the US commandos in a daring operation in May 2011, the Obama administration has maintained that it has got no evidence which indicates that the top Pakistani leadership knew about the presence of the most wanted terrorist in Pakistan.
However, journalist Carlotta Gall of The New York Times reported that the then ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha knew of bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan.
“Soon after the Navy SEAL raid on bin Laden’s house, a Pakistani official told me that the US had direct evidence that ISI chief Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha knew of bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad,” she wrote from the excerpts of her upcoming book.
“The information came from a senior US official, and I guessed that the Americans had intercepted a phone call of Pasha’s or one about him in the days after the raid. ‘He knew of Osama’s whereabouts, yes,’ the Pakistani official told me,” the journalist wrote in the daily.
Pasha was an energetic opponent of the Taliban and an open and cooperative counterpart for the Americans at the ISI. “Pasha was always their blue-eyed boy,” the official said. “But in the weeks and months after the raid, Pasha and the ISI press office strenuously denied that they had any knowledge of bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad,” she wrote.