Osama wasn't killed in 90 seconds: Pentagon
WASHINGTON (PAN): The Pentagon on Monday dismissed a claim by a former American elite commando that Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed in the first 90 seconds of the covert May 2 operation in Pakistan.
The officials of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence were aware of Osama Bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad, not only this, they also provided protection and safe houses to his then deputy and now the top al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to a new book.
The ISI officials periodically checked on Laden also, this sensational disclosure has been by Chuck Pfarrer, a former SEALs, in his latest book Seal Target Geronimo that hit the stands in the US on Tuesday.
Pfarrer says his account in the book is based on his interviews and interaction with members of the SEALs team that killed Bin Laden and the US military and Obama Administration officials.
All the sources have been kept anonymous.
“Those facts are incorrect,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters while responding to a question on the latest book by Chuck Pfarrer, claiming that bin Laden was killed by the US forces in the first 90 seconds of the operation.
The book, "SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to kill Osama bin Laden hit the stalls on Tuesday.
“Neither (of the two helicopters) landed on the roof of the compound (in Abbottabad, as claimed by the Pfarrer.) As all know, one helicopter had a bad landing and the other ended outside the walls of the compound on the ground,” he said during an off camera briefing.
“It took more than 90 seconds to break through the walls of the compound and it took several minutes to find and kill bin Laden. It was not 90 seconds,” said Little, who was the spokesperson of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) when the operation to kill the top terrorist took place
The 225-page book claims that the ISI knew the hideout of bin Laden in Abbottabad where its officials periodically checked on him. “The Pakistani ISI knew exactly where he was, but did not inform the United States. They continued to let Osama pace back and forth in his compound,” Pfarrer writes.
“Osama collected designs for truck bombs and attack plans for London, Washington, New York, Paris, and Rome. He received couriers from al-Zawahiri and al-Libbi, and officers from Pakistan's ISI who periodically checked on him, but for the most part, his Pakistani hosts let him alone,” Pfarrer said.
Officials of the Obama Administration, Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have so far maintained that they haven't obtained any evidence which indicates about the ISI knowledge of the whereabouts of bin Laden or providing support infrastructure to him.
Giving an insight into the last few months of bin Laden's life, Pfarrer wrote that he became increasingly reclusive and seldom left the main building, unless it was to put on a set of golden-threaded robes and have one of his aides film him as he tried to read pronouncements to be aired on Al Jazeera or released on al Qaeda's web sites.
The book also brings out the differences between bin laden and al-Zawahiri. “Despite knowing that this operative was blown, al-Zawahiri used Abu Ahmed al Kuwaiti to make repeated trips to Bin Laden’s compound,” says the book.
“Based on this accumulation of information, one can draw the conclusion that it was al-Zawahiri who led the United States to Osama bin Laden’s hiding place in Abbottabad, Pakistan, accomplishing this through a complex and persistent series of lapses in security,” he said.
“Some of these slips were subtle, and some of them were so obvious that they were laughable,” Pfarrer writes in his book, which also claims that Zawahiri even tried to get the Russians kill bin Laden and he also wrongly diagnosed the top al Qaeda leader.
At the same time, bin Laden wanted al-Zawahiri to be out of his organization. SEALs would carry away five hundred data systems, hard drives, computers, laptops, monitors, notebooks written in Arabic and English, papers, financial records, and wire diagrams of a new Al Qaeda that Osama was planning—one that did not include Zawahiri, Pfarrer said.
“Ironically, intel analysts reading through Bin Laden's papers would discover that Osama was planning a full break with al-Zawahiri. That move came too late to prevent al-Zawahiri from moving against him,” he wrote.
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