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ISI knew about Osama's Pak hideout, claims book

Last updated on: November 8, 2011 13:40 IST

ISI knew about Osama's Pak hideout, claims book

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Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence was aware of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad and the spy agency officials also provided protection and safe houses to his then deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to a new book. 

The ISI officials periodically checked on bin Laden also, this sensational claim has been made by Chuck Pfarrer, a former SEALs, in his latest book Seal Target Geronimo that hit the stands in United States on Tuesday.

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Image: Policemen patrol a street near the compound where Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad
Photographs: Reuters
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'ISI didn't inform US about Osama'

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Pfarrer says his account in the book, that gives a blow by blow account of the killing of bin Laden in a surprise US raid in Abbottabad on May 2, is based on his interviews and interactions with members of the SEALs, team that killed theAl Qaeda leader, and the US military and Obama administration officials. All the sources have been kept anonymous. 

Notably officials of the Obama administration, Department of Defence and Central Intelligence Agency have so far maintained that they haven't obtained any evidence which indicates about the ISI having knowledge of the whereabouts of bin Laden or providing support infrastructure to him.

"The ISI knew exactly where he was, but did not inform the US. They continued to let bin Laden pace back and forth in his compound," Pfarrer wrote in his 225-page book.

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.

Image: US President Barack Obama (2nd L) and Vice President Joe Biden (L), along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House. 


Image: The cover of the book 'Seal Target Geronimo'

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'Obama was playing golf minutes before Osama raid began'

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Minutes before the operation to hunt down Osama bin Laden in Pakistan began, Obama was playing golf so that he could "distance himself" in case the raid went wrong, claims the book. President Obama was actually playing golf until 20 minutes before the raid to kill the Al Qaeda chief began, claims Chuck Pfarrer, a former SEALs, in his latest book Seal Target Geronimo that hit the stands on Tuesday.

Only then did he down his clubs and return to the White House to watch what he later trumpeted as a great success of his presidency, the Daily Mail reported quoting the book.

The book claims that the official account was riddled with errors and that bin Laden was referred to as 'Bert' and not just 'Geronimo'.

The book paints a very different picture to the official photo released at the time which shows Obama and his advisers huddled round a table in the White House Situation Room as footage was beamed from a drone 15,000 ft above the Al Qaeda leader's mansion hideout in Pakistan's Abbottabad on May 2.

Pfarrer says Obama's role was largely inflated and suggests he stayed out on the golf course for so long so he could distance himself in case it went wrong. "If this had completely gone south, he was in a position to disavow," he wrote. He says the White House photographs did not show the moment that bin Laden was killed, but the moment a helicopter went down, which happened after the shooting.

Pfarrer also claims that bin Laden was known as Bert to the Seals, and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri was Ernie -- a reference to the Sesame Street puppets.


Image: Obama was playing golf 20 minutes before the raid
Photographs: Reuters
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'Zawahiri set up Osama to become Al Qaeda chief'

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Eager to become Al Qaeda chief, Aymen al-Zawahiri set up Osama bin Laden by repeatedly sending to his hideout in Pakistan's Abbottabad a courier who had been interrogated by the Central Investigation Agency, claims the book.

Despite knowing that this operative was blown, 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 conclusion that it was Zawahiri who led the US to bin Laden's hiding place in Abbottabad, 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 wrote in his book, which also claims that Zawahiri even tried to get the Russians to kill bin Laden and he also wrongly diagnosed bin Laden.

"Zawahiri tried to get the Russians to kill bin Laden; they did not. He hoped that Addison's disease would take him, but it did not. Now Zawahiri played his final card – he deliberately used a blown courier to communicate with Osama, and the inevitable happened. The Americans found him," Pfarrer wrote in his 225-page book.

He said that for 30 years, 60-year-old Zawahiri had been willing to use violence to bring about his idea of Islamic government. Now, the Muslim faithful were throwing off the chains of dictatorship, the book said.

"Zawahiri had worn himself out trying to get Osama to escalate his attacks against the West. Repeated plans to smuggle chemical weapons into the US had come to naught and now Zawahiri had had enough. By late in 2009, he had determined to wrest control of Al Qaeda from bin Laden," the book says.


Image: Aymen al-Zawahiri

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