Guardian: Pakistan Agreed to the Bin Laden Mission Ten Years Ago

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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Did Pakistan leak the name of our CIA chief in Islamabad because it's genuinely pissed off that we conducted a covert mission without telling them? Or is Pakistan just pretending? Sources tell the Guardian that it's probably the latter. Based on interviews with serving and retired officials from the U.S. and Pakistan — anonymous government sources have been doing a brisk business since last Monday — George Bush and General Pervez Musharraf struck a deal in 2001 to allow the same type of scenario as last week's raid. "Afterwards," says the Guardian, "Both sides agreed, Pakistan would vociferously protest the incursion." Their sources allege that the agreement wasn't just some decade-old pact: It was renewed in February 2008 when the country was transitioning from Musharraf's leadership to a civilian government.

They even called us their "friends"!

Referring to the assault on Bin Laden's Abbottabad compound, the [Pakistani] official added: "As far as our American friends are concerned, they have just implemented the agreement."


The former US official said the Pakistani protests of the past week were the "public face" of the deal. "We knew they would deny this stuff."


If this is true, Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani's address to Parliament today deserves its own Inside the Actor's Studio. He called the U.S. raid a breach of sovereignty and warned that any repeat behavior would be met with "full force." Gilani also described the ISI — currently suspected of leaking the name of the CIA chief in Islamabad and of aiding bin Laden — as a “national asset” that had done more than any other intelligence agency to stop Al Qaeda.

But the notion of such a deal seems slightly more plausible in light Pakistan's attitude toward CIA drone strikes in the country's tribal belt. (In a leaked US embassy cable, Gilani reportedly told a U.S. official, "I don't care if they do it, as long as they get the right people. We'll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.") In the case of the Predator drones, officials continued to denounce the attacks as they escalated last year, even as it became clear they cooperated. We guess Gilani calling China "a source of inspiration for the people of Pakistan" was purely for show then.

Osama bin Laden mission agreed in secret 10 years ago by US and Pakistan [Guardian UK]
Prime Minister Is Defiant as Pakistan Outs C.I.A. Agent [NYT]
Earlier: Pakistani Media Outs CIA Chief as Tensions With U.S. Worsen