May 4, 2011

Property records give new insights into bin Laden

Nahal Toosi and Zarar Khan, The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

But al-Qahtani proved to be a poor student and was ultimately denied entry to the U.S. when he raised suspicion among immigration officials.

The Guantanamo documents also revealed that the courier might have been one of the men who accompanied bin Laden to Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan in December 2001 just weeks before the Taliban's final surrender.

Al-Kuwaiti inadvertently led intelligence officials to bin Laden when he used a telephone last year to talk with someone the U.S. had wiretapped. The CIA then tracked al-Kuwaiti back to the walled compound in Abbottabad, an army town that is just two hours drive from the capital.

Bin Laden was living in a large house not far from a military academy in Abbottabad. That he lived there for up to six years undetected has reignited long-standing suspicions that the country, nominally a U.S. ally, is playing a double game.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said anyone who claimed his country hid bin Laden was "color blind."

During a visit to Paris, Gilani said that Pakistan shared intelligence with numerous countries in the fight against terrorism and had "excellent cooperation" with the United States. He said that "if we have failed, it means everybody failed," and an investigation would be ordered.

Some U.S. lawmakers have suggested that Washington cut or terminate American aid to Pakistan as a result. But others are advising caution — Pakistan has nuclear arms, is already unstable and the U.S. needs its support to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the discovery of bin Laden so close to an army installation was "embarrassing to them" but that institutional entities like the army, intelligence service and government likely didn't know about bin Laden's presence.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's defense minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said the country's most wanted terrorist suspect Umar Patek was in Abbottabad to meet Osama bin Laden when he was arrested there early this year. Patek was injured in a raid by Pakistani intelligence agents on a house in Abbottabad on Jan. 25, but news of arrest only leaked out in late March.

A senior American counterterrorism official said Patek's arrest in Abbottabad "appears to have been pure coincidence" and that there were no indications that Patek met with bin Laden in Abbottabad.

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