When the news broke yesterday that a CIA airstrike in Pakistan might have killed Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man, Dymphna and I were surprised. What was the CIA doing, revealing operational details like this? And since when do we announce our operations inside Pakistan? Something smelled bad here.
Then came this this news story:
|Today, according to Pakistani military sources, U.S. aircraft attacked a compound known to be frequented by high-level al Qaeda operatives. Pakistani officials tell ABC News that al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenant, may have been among them.|
|CIA-operated unmanned drones were believed to have been used in the attack on Damadola village, across the border from Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. sources said.|
OK, Pakistan is leaking the information. But why? Normally Pakistan doesn’t acknowledge American operations inside its territory.
Today the stench became stronger with this follow-up:
|Ayman al-Zawahiri — Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in the al Qaeda terrorist network — was not killed in a CIA airstrike on a remote Pakistani village, according a Pakistani intelligence source.|
|Pakistan’s information minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad told CNN on Saturday the government plans to summon the U.S. ambassador and “make a strong protest” over the attack on the village of Damadola, near the Afghan border.|
Now that the wind has shifted, the smell is more obvious.
Pakistan leaked the news that Zawahiri might be dead, thus guaranteeing maximum exposure in worldwide media sources — I counted 786 stories on the topic the last time I checked Google news.
Then they reveal that he’s not really dead. Sorry, fellows! We goofed!
Now they can register a “strong protest” with the U.S. government about the incident, gaining even more wide publicity, and thereby making it much more difficult for us to mount a similar operation in the future.
And so how come we missed him?
|The Associated Press quoted a senior Pakistani intelligence official as saying “our investigations conclude that they (the CIA) acted on a false information.”|
Huh! Where do you think that “false information” came from?
Thanks, guys! Good to have Pakistan as such a “staunch friend in the War on Terror”!
I can smell the dirty hands of the ISI all over this one, can’t you?