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Pakistan's prime minister defends spy agency after allegations about bin Laden

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani on Monday defended Pakistan's spy agency and indirectly criticized the United States for Osama bin Laden's presence in Pakistan.

The prime minister's statement was expected to give an accounting of what Pakistan knew about the al-Qaida leader's presence in Pakistan, but instead centered on how the raid by the United States was a breach of Pakistani sovereignty. He warned that a repeat of such a raid to capture other high profile terrorists could be met with "full force."

In his first address to Parliament since bin Laden's death, Gilani said a three-star general would lead an inquiry into the "how, when and why" of bin Laden's years-long stay in Abbottabad.

But he left it clear that he did not expect the investigation would find that the military or Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, had conspired to keep bin Laden's presence a secret.

In response to statements from the Obama administration that elements in the ISI knew of bin Laden's hiding place and may have helped him, Gilani said it was "disingenuous" for anyone to blame the ISI or the army of being "in cahoots" with bin Laden. The head of the spy agency, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, and the chief of the army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, have been described as seething over the U.S. raid, and the Obama administration's failure to inform Pakistan in advance.

Information from the New York Times and McClatchy Newspapers was used in this report.

Other news

Osama bin Laden's three wives will soon be made available for U.S. interrogation, a White House official told the Associated Press on Monday. The women have been in Pakistani custody since U.S. Navy SEALs left the compound with bin Laden's body. There was no immediate confirmation from Pakistan.

Al-Qaida's front group in Iraq reaffirmed its support Monday for the terror network's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, a week after bin Laden's death. Al-Qaida has not yet announced a successor and there is some uncertainty about whether al-Zawahri will take over.

Associated Press

Pakistan's prime minister defends spy agency after allegations about bin Laden 05/10/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 12:17am]
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