Mistrusting Pakistan

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 3 2011 1:43 PM

Mistrusting Pakistan

Leon Panetta talks to Time about the OBL operation:

Months prior, the U.S. had considered expanding the assault to include coordination with other countries, notably Pakistan. But the CIA ruled out participating with its nominal South Asian ally early on because "it was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardize the mission. They might alert the targets," Panetta says.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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It's next to impossible to find anyone who hears this and says "I don't believe it."

"That doesn't surprise me at all," said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., the former chairman of the Senate's Intelligence committee, when I asked him about the story.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., reacted to a question about Pakistan in more or less the same way. "We can't trust 'em, and we can't abandon 'em," he said.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, was given a chance to respond to Democrats or Republicans who thought aid to Pakistan should be reconsidered.

"I'm as inquisitive as anybody about how this place could be 35 miles away, a mile away from a major military installation, and different from all the other places around it, and people wouldn't follow it up," he said. But consider the alternatives if the United States cut Pakistan off. "If people think we're better off not having intelligence on the ground that allows us to find an Osama bin Laden, you need to show me that alternative is. We just got Osama bin Laden, and one of the reasons we got him is because we had intelligence people there who could do the work."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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