ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports:
Key lawmakers in Congress have wasted little time today in demanding answers from the Pakistani military & intelligence communities after Osama bin Laden was killed in a massive compound in Abbottabad, a city with a large military presence not far from the nation’s capital of Islamabad.
First it was Senate Armed Services chairman Carl Levin who said they have “got a lot of explaining to do.” Then it was Senate Homeland Security chairman Joe Lieberman who warned that they must now “prove to us that they didn’t know that bin Laden was there.” Susan Collins, the top Republican on the Homeland Security panel, said she found it “difficult to understand” how bin Laden could have been there, contending that “unfortunately Pakistan at times is playing a double game and that is very troubling to me.”
Now another senator – New Jersey Democrat Frank Lautenberg – says billions of dollars in aid from the US to Pakistan should be suspended until Congress receives answers from Pakistan about how bin Laden was able to live in Abbottabad.
“This tremendous milestone in the fight against terrorism also raises serious questions about Pakistan’s commitment to that effort,” Lautenberg said in a statement today. “The ability of Osama bin Laden to live in a compound so close to Pakistan's capital is astounding – and we need to understand who knew his location, when they knew it, and whether Pakistani officials were helping to protect him.”
“The United States provides billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan,” Lautenberg continued. “Before we send another dime, we need to know whether Pakistan truly stands with us in the fight against terrorism. Until Congress and the American public are assured that the Pakistani government is not shielding terrorists, financial aid to Pakistan should be suspended.”
Lautenberg noted that President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal requested nearly $3 billion in foreign aid to Pakistan, including $1.58 billion in funds for security related programs and $1.36 billion for economic and humanitarian aid, while an additional $1 billion could come from the Department of Defense in Coalition Support Funds to reimburse the Pakistani military.