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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio: Hearings on U.S. aid to Pakistan warranted

Sen. Marco Rubio is adding to calls for Congressional hearings on U.S. aid to Pakistan after the discovery of Osama bin Laden.

"The most wanted man in the world lived in a uniquely constructed compound, in a military neighborhood just a handful of miles outside the capital city. There are some legitimate questions that poses," Rubio said in an interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show.

He said he hoped the Foreign Relations Committee, of which he is a member, will hold hearings on the relationship with Pakistan. Chairman John Kerry has said he wants to review the strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan and other senior Democrats said aid could be withdrawn (more on that here) Rubio acknowledged -- as President Obama has -- that Pakistan has provided intelligence in the past "and maybe even now."

Rubio credited President Obama and his team for the daring mission to take out bin Laden, but also said credit was due with the previous administration's effort to increase intelligence gathering. "I think this will part of history’s vindication of George Bush’s efforts in this regard."

Florida's Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson also praised Bush.

"It's instructive that President Obama called former President Bush," Nelson told the St. Petersburg Times. "This has been a long effort of 10 years in which it's been incredible, the intelligence operation in gathering the information and infiltrating various intelligence operations. As a result, it's led to this successful operation."

He continued, "I think anytime that a major goal has been accomplished, it is going to inure to the benefit of the incumbent president. But I thought it was very instructive of this president that one of the first people he called before he made the announcement was the former president who put a lot of this intelligence apparatus in motion."

-- Alex Leary and Steve Bousquet

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 12:38pm]


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