July 12, 2011 — -- The CIA created a fake vaccination program in Abbottabad, Pakistan in an attempt to gather DNA evidence that would prove Osama bin Laden and his family were hiding there, according to media reports.
The New York Times reported Monday that an American official said the Pakistani doctor who ran the phony program was able to get access to the bin Laden family's high-walled compound, but did not get DNA samples from bin Laden family members and did not see the al Qaeda leader.
A CIA spokesperson declined to comment to ABC News on the alleged vaccination program or reports in the New York Times and the Guardian.
Bin Laden, his son and two other men were killed by Navy SEALs during a raid on the compound in May. Relations between Pakistan and the U.S. were strained by the raid, which was not disclosed to Pakistani officials beforehand. Bin Laden is believed to have lived in the compound, which is less than a mile from Pakistan's leading military academy, for more than five years, adding to U.S. suspicions that Pakistani authorities were protecting bin Laden and other Islamist militants.
In June, CIA Director Leon Panetta confronted the head of Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, with evidence that Pakistani officials were tipping off Taliban militants prior to raids, allowing the militants to escape. The U.S. government is now withholding $800 million in military aid that was designated for Pakistan.
The Times also reported that Dr. Shakil Afridi, said to have run the fake vaccination program for the U.S., is being held by Pakistani authorities because he collaborated with the U.S. After the SEAL raid, over a period of several weeks in May and June, Pakistani authorities rounded up a handful of people who helped the CIA find and kill bin Laden, according to Pakistani and U.S. officials. Afridi was detained in late May, according to media reports.