“Gross incompetence” and collective failures by Pakistani political and military leaders allowed al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden to evade capture while living for years in Pakistan, according to a published copy of the official Pakistani government investigation int0 bin Laden’s life and death.
The report, referred to as the “Abbotabad Commission,” is a scathing critique of how an often inept Pakistani political and intelligence infrastructure allowed the world’s most wanted man to live in Pakistan for nine years — six of them in a compound in Abbottabad, less than a mile from a Pakistani military academy.
“Culpable negligence and incompetence at almost all levels of the government can more or less be conclusively established,” says the report, published today in full by Al Jazeera.
The report, which is believed to have been completed several months ago but not available publicy until today, relied on testimony from more than two hundred sources, including senior military and political leaders. It also refers to interviews with bin Laden’s family who recount the night U.S. Navy SEALs killed the al Qaeda leader.
Among the highlights from the report as published by Al Jazeera:
- There was a “complete collapse” of governance and law enforcement, both during Bin Laden’s nine year residency in Pakistan, and in the response to the U.S. raid in May 2011 that killed him.
- Several local government agencies, including tax collectors, local police, utility providers, and citizenship agencies had cause to investigate the Bin Laden compound, but none of them ever did.
- There was a vast network of CIA operatives in Pakistan who were trying to track down Bin Laden. That the network existed without Pakistan’s knowledge was the result of “nothing less than the collective and sustained dereliction of duty” by Pakistani “political, military, and intelligence leadership,” the report says.
- One page (pg. 197) of the report is omitted from all copies received by Aljazeera. The page contained testimony from the former head of Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency, the ISI. It’s unclear what the testimony is about.
- The director of the CIA personally asked the director of Pakistan’s intelligence agency to not reveal the role that Save the Children, an international NGO operating in Pakistan, played in its intelligence gathering activities.
- Pakistan claims the CIA did not share information on Bin Laden’s whereabouts because, had Pakistani officials found him first, it would have “been very favorably placed internationally.
- According to the testimony of his wives, Bin Laden lived “extremely frugally” while in Abbotabad. He owned only six pairs of local Pakistani outfits (three for summer, and three for winter), plus two sweaters and one black jacket.
- One of the young girls who lived in the Bin Laden compound referred to Bin Laden as “miskeen baba,” an urdu term meaning “Poor father.” She was told by Bin Laden’s courier, who also lived in the compound that “miskeen Baba” never went to the local market because he was too poor to buy anything.