The PJ Tatler

WikiLeaks: ISI protected bin Laden for years

Ya don’t say. Pieces are quickly falling into place.

In December 2009, the government of Tajikistan warned the United States that efforts to catch bin Laden were being thwarted by corrupt Pakistani spies.

According to a US diplomatic dispatch, General Abdullo Sadulloevich Nazarov, a senior Tajik counterterrorism official, told the Americans that “many” inside Pakistan knew where bin Laden was.

The document stated: “In Pakistan, Osama Bin Laden wasn’t an invisible man, and many knew his whereabouts in North Waziristan, but whenever security forces attempted a raid on his hideouts, the enemy received warning of their approach from sources in the security forces.”

Intelligence gathered from detainees at Guantanamo Bay may also have made the Americans wary of sharing their operational plans with the Pakistani government.

One detainee, Saber Lal Melma, an Afghan whom the US described as a probable facilitator for al-Qaeda, allegedly worked with the ISID to help members flee Afghanistan after the American bombing began in October 2001.

His US military Guantanamo Bay detainee file, obtained by Wikileaks and seen by The Daily Telegraph, claims he allegedly passed the al-Qaeda Arabs to Pakistani security forces who then smuggled them across the border into Pakistan.

Nearly everyone who has followed the war over the years and isn’t, well, as crazy as Cindy Sheehan or as dumb as Maureen Dowd, has suspected Pakistani collusion at some level. But to have it spun into reality like this is still jarring. The documents say Pakistan was protecting him, the geography says they were protecting him, everything says they were protecting him. I’m no lawyer, but the circumstantial case against Pakistan as OBL’s guardian strikes me as pretty solid. King & Spalding would sweat out their defense.

It’s obviously jarring to the Pakistani government, which on the one hand has a restive populace with a huge number of bin Laden supporters, on another hand is rife with bin Laden supporters itself, but on what I guess would be the gripping hand wants to keep the American cash train rolling faster than the John Galt Line. So their response today: Quit asking about this already!

The questions have only started.