Sen. Mark Pryor: ‘Divided Loyalties’ Inside Pakistani Government

By Cullen Dirner

May 5, 2011 2:59pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein (@rickklein) reports: Tough questions on Capitol Hill are continuing for the Pakistani government, with lawmakers from both parties asserting that they don’t find it credible that no one in the government or military establishment know that Osama bin Laden was hiding in a heavily populated area inside Pakistan.

On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., described an “uneven relationship” with Pakistan, with “divided loyalties” at times undercutting efforts for American officials to work cooperatively with the Pakistanis on anti-terrorism efforts.

“I’m not convinced that we’re getting what we need, and I’m not convinced that anyone in the US government is completely satisfied with our relationship with Pakistan, and how they do,” Pryor told us. “My sense is that there is definitely some divided loyalties inside the country, and even inside the government.

Still, he said, he recognizes that Pakistan is “living in a very difficult neighborhood”: “It’s not going to be a bed of roses. It’s not going to be perfect.”

Pryor, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, also told us he thought the terrorist threat level should have been raised after Osama bin Laden’s death, though he said he respects the fact that US authorities haven’t done so because they don’t have information about a specific threat.

Raising the threat level, Pryor said, “certainly would be my initial reaction. I would think when we take out the leading terrorist in the world, and certainly the leading terrorist in al Qaeda, you would think that we would have an immediate threat here.”

American officials, he said, have “looked and said we probably will see some retaliation, but we don’t see anything right now that would require us to increase the threat [level]. But I think always we need to be prepared. And always we need to understand, if they don’t try to attack us here, they certainly will try somewhere around the world.”

And Pryor said he’s not concerned about changes in details regarding the official narrative of how bin Laden was killed: “No one knew the entire picture when the story started to be told. … It doesn’t trouble me. It’s just kind of the fog of war.”

Watch the full interview with Sen. Mark Pryor HERE:

Also today, we chatted with Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center about his latest survey on “Political Typology,” which seeks to classify voters based on values rather than party labels.

Watch that segment of “Top Line” HERE:

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