Pakistanis: OBL assisted by “rogue elements” in ISI

posted at 10:55 am on May 9, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Well, what else did we expect the Pakistanis to say?  We’re so incompetent that we can’t even detect an invasionOh, wait

A senior official in Pakistan’s civilian government told ABC News, “Elements of Pakistan intelligence — probably rogue or retired — were involved in aiding, abetting and sheltering the leader of al Qaeda,” the strongest public statement yet from the Pakistani government after the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound.

This is based on the government’s judgment that the number of years bin Laden spent in Abbottabad — and it now appears in a village outside the city of Haripur — would have been impossible without help, possibly from someone in the middle tier of ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence agency, who grew up fighting alongside the mujahidin against the Soviets, said the official.

According to the official, the military and ISI have been weeding some of them out but many remain.

Probably rogue elements and retirees?  There’s a confidence builder, eh?

The worst part of this statement is that it’s probably true.  I was making the same point to some Americans while traveling in Rome last week.  The ISI has long had a relationship with the Taliban — in fact, they more or less sponsored the Taliban for years, only ending the relationship after 9/11, or more accurately, officially ending the relationship.  The ISI still saw the Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies as a useful force for aggressive Pakistani policy in Afghanistan and in the disputed Kashmir region, and even with the official kibosh on terror links, some elements in the ISI were not about to eschew that kind of power.  The civilian government tried purging those elements over the last few years, with not too much obvious success.

The problem for the civilian government is that they exert only a moderate amount of influence over the ISI, but this may change things.  The humiliation of having the US execute a military operation completely undetected just yards away from their version of West Point, as well as the realization that the world’s most hunted terrorist has been hanging out in the suburbs of their capital for years, may give the civilian government an opening to better control of both the ISI and the military.  The civilian government has until now operated more or less at the pleasure of the military and ISI, either of which could have conducted a coup at any time and seized power as has happened in the past.

After this, their prestige is near zero.  That may turn out to be the best thing that has happened to Pakistan in a long time. (via QandO)

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Can I get an “oh my?”

Dino64 on May 9, 2011 at 11:00 AM

I just don’t get why the west is so shocked that a culture with a 5,000 year history of warlords and clan bosses is corrupt at its core.

Limerick on May 9, 2011 at 11:02 AM

The humiliation of having the US execute a military operation completely undetected just yards away from their version of West Point, as well as the realization that the world’s most hunted terrorist has been hanging out in the suburbs of their capital for years, may give the civilian government an opening to better control of both the ISI and the military.

Pick yer poison. Military and ISI running the show, but, heavily undermined by Taliban moles, or totally corrupt civilian oversight.

a capella on May 9, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Probably rogue elements and retirees?

The Pakistani’s have a Tea Party too???/////

ted c on May 9, 2011 at 11:03 AM

And O.J. is still looking for the REAL killers!

Tony737 on May 9, 2011 at 11:07 AM

I call BS

clnurnberg on May 9, 2011 at 11:10 AM

We are shocked to find terrorist-assisting activities going on in here!

amerpundit on May 9, 2011 at 11:10 AM

And O.J. is still looking for the REAL killers!

Tony737 on May 9, 2011 at 11:07 AM

heh! If the turban don’t fit…..

ted c on May 9, 2011 at 11:12 AM

I wonder if anybody should tell them about that Indian Army Brigade living in the big apartment complex down the street?

cartooner on May 9, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Just what we need. A nuclear-armed state with a failed and corrupt intelligence apparatus that can be bought by terrorists. Not only can they be bought, but the Paki ISI will park them on the doorstep of their main military academy. Perfect.

ted c on May 9, 2011 at 11:15 AM

The humiliation of having the US execute a military operation completely undetected just yards away from their version of West Point …

It wasn’t undetected – the Pakis knew we were coming.

I’m so sick of this assertion that Pakis didn’t help. I’m sorry – SEALS ACCOUNT FOR ALL POSSIBILITIES in any operation.

One SERIOUS DRAWBACK to this operation was the fact that the Paki’s COULD HAVE shown up – and started firing. There were plenty of troops around – and that’s “kind of” what armies do folks – they protect their territory from invasions.

So the SEALS had to have a plan fo this and they either …

A. Resolved to END the operation immediately if Paki security forces showed up while they were in the compound and get out ASAP or …

B. Resolved to FIGHT and KILL Paki security forces if they showed up while they were in the compound or …

C. Told someone the could trust in Paki leadership – and who had the ability – to hold Paki troops away from the compound until we left.

“Option A” – doesn’t cut it – because there was still a risk, even while escaping – that we’d end up in a firefight with Paki troops.

“Option B” – Oh really? We were willing to cause an international incident and kill some Pakistani troops (possibly many and risk having some of our own shot) by a nation that we still consider to be ally in the war on terror? I don’t think so.

The only answer – is answer “C” – we told them in advance – maybe not far in advance but we did tell them.

So why doesn’t anyone admit that we told them? Are you kidding? To admit that moderate elements of the Paki security forces “aided” the US in violating Paki sovereignty would simply empower the radicals even more.

We told them.

HondaV65 on May 9, 2011 at 11:20 AM

To be fair to the Pakistanis, we have liberals in this country who aid and abet terrorists too..

Roy Rogers on May 9, 2011 at 11:21 AM

So Sarah Palin writes a book titled “Going Rogue” and rogue Pakistani spooks harbor Osama bin Laden. Coincidence? I think not.

Mike Honcho on May 9, 2011 at 11:21 AM

I don’t get The Fugitive picture.

hawkdriver on May 9, 2011 at 11:23 AM

Where does that leave the civilian leadership? No matter how bad it may be for the ISI, which side is the military going to come down on, a rogue ISI or a weak civilian government.

fourdeucer on May 9, 2011 at 11:23 AM

Obama won’t do it because he’s basically a coward, but we could make examples pf a few of these ISI types. I have little doubt they have names from ObL’s computers.

I would just grab the little weasels and squeeze them for any useful info, then take them for a ride into the desert…and leave them.

evilned on May 9, 2011 at 11:24 AM

We told them.

HondaV65 on May 9, 2011 at 11:20 AM

I don’t think so. They’re so put off by all of the drone strikes that they’d have tipped homeboy off and he’d split with his money-man-jammies. The Pakis routinely treat our troops on AfPak border as hostile, conduct harassing fires etc. I don’t think the Pakis knew and your plan B is more likely. There was assuredly CAS scheduled and ready on-station over Afghanistan in the event that any Paki helos or FW AC lifted off. If that were the case, they would have been shot down. That’s my opinion — but i’ve only been there a few times.

ted c on May 9, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Lol delusions. The ISI is beloved in Pakiland along with the fundie mullahs. Why the federal government is sponsoring perhaps the most mendacious state in the world is baffling to me. People here simply do not realize the level of duplicity that Pakistan engages in.

flawedskull on May 9, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Where does that leave the civilian leadership? No matter how bad it may be for the ISI, which side is the military going to come down on, a rogue ISI or a weak civilian government.

fourdeucer on May 9, 2011 at 11:23 AM

It’s probably both. The civilian leadership is so cowed by both the presence of bin Laden and their corrupt ISI that protects him. Bin Laden has the Pakis by the short n’ curlies through his minions and the Pakis are more than happy to allow the US to take out their dirty laundry despite their caterwauling about tribal area drone strikes.

ted c on May 9, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Bin Laden was a cancer inside pakistan, but he was only one tumor. The same cancer exists in Yemen, Saudi, and so on. The gov’t is either complicit in their presence, or their powerless or unwilling to do anything about them. The cancer grows, and you get Somalia.

ted c on May 9, 2011 at 11:31 AM

The ISI is like an unruly 18yr old teenager that shoves his parents around. The parents can’t ditch the kid, but they can’t control him either. It’s a catch-22 with them IMO.

ted c on May 9, 2011 at 11:34 AM

It’s probably both.
ted c on May 9, 2011 at 11:29 AM

I think you are right which leaves Predator Barack Hussein Obomber in a precarious situation again.

fourdeucer on May 9, 2011 at 11:37 AM

The problem for the civilian government is that they exert only a moderate amount of influence over the ISI, but this may change things.

I might buy into this, but the civilian government is as corrupt as the rest of the Pakistani establishment. And with the military having the guns and the ISI the files on the civilians, just how is the prime minister supposed to bring them to heel if the generals say “no?”

irishspy on May 9, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Pakistan: “Oh, you meant that Osama Bin Laden. Why didn’t you just say so?”

rbj on May 9, 2011 at 11:38 AM

I think you are right which leaves Predator Barack Hussein Obomber in a precarious situation again.

fourdeucer on May 9, 2011 at 11:37 AM

maybe, but he rollled up in there with a strong pimp hand and b!tch slapped both the ISI and the military with a SEAL team. Precarious or not, the Pakis are in a bad situation here for not doing the stuff that they were supposed to be doing for the last decade.

ted c on May 9, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Our goal is to help our supporters in Pakistan defeat those Pakistanis who support al Qaeda. That’s obvious.

What’s not obvious is why we are so bluntly taking on the ISI. It would have been far better for the administration to publicly thank the Pak government for all their help in taking Bin Laden, graciously including their help in locating him, and congratulating the Pakistani people for the fine army and air defenses they’ve built. Then, go silent and watch carefully to see who in Pakistan’s power structure starts to whine about being left out of the planning, or questioning the leadership’s decisions to help us. Then, we kill those people.

MTF on May 9, 2011 at 11:57 AM

The reasons for not telling the Pakis anything prior to first contact in this operation, is unchanged from the outset. We have no certainty who we can trust among them. Of the three possible responses to us informing them of our intentions, only one is viable:

1. They assist OBL getting clear
2. They engage in a counter-offensive against us, putting us in the situation of starting a war against an “ally”
3. They cooperate by staying out of our way while we engage in a contained incursion on their sovereign land

While #3 is the only option we would be happy with, it’s also the least likely one for them to choose. A stealth mission, with nobody outside of U.S. forces being aware of the objectives, is the only way we get the job done without creating a new, unwanted conflict. Remember who we’re dealing with there. They change allegiances like we change shirts. When the Taliban is winning, they all become Taliban. When the Taliban is losing, they all hate the Taliban. What day is it?

Freelancer on May 9, 2011 at 12:00 PM

HondaV65 on May 9, 2011 at 11:20 AM

And they used stealth helis because….?

And Pakistan scrambled jet fighters because…?

Your plan B is more likely. I think you don’t give our military enough credit.

Ortzinator on May 9, 2011 at 12:08 PM

I don’t think so. They’re so put off by all of the drone strikes that they’d have tipped homeboy off and he’d split with his money-man-jammies. The Pakis routinely treat our troops on AfPak border as hostile, conduct harassing fires etc. I don’t think the Pakis knew and your plan B is more likely. There was assuredly CAS scheduled and ready on-station over Afghanistan in the event that any Paki helos or FW AC lifted off. If that were the case, they would have been shot down. That’s my opinion — but i’ve only been there a few times.

ted c on May 9, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Let’s look at this straight up – you’re asserting that the SEALS planned to shoot and kill Paki security forces if they showed up.

I just don’t see it because …

A. Obama would have to have agreed to shooting Paki troops. Not only that – but he’d have gotten an earfull from HC and LP – I don’t see HC, in her role as SoS – willfully diving into an internaional incident where Pak and / or Navy Seals shot each other. I just don’t see Obama giving that permission … “Yeah sure, shoot the Paki’s if they show up.”

B.. Islamabad is the Paki capital – this is not one of the “badlands” of the “borderregions”. Yes, a lot of strange things occur on the Afghan / Pak border – but if US troops become engaged in a firefight with Paki troops in the Paki capital – that is quite a different thing.

C. When you opt to get involved in a firefight – you have to be wlling to WIN it. So this means – as you said – LOTS of combat support for the SEALS in case the Pak’s show up. Lots of combat support means lots of shooting and lots of shooting means a high probability of civilian casualties OUTSIDE of the compound. The thing about combat – is you don’t control all of the variables so you have to PLAN for everything – including a HUGE Paki response that takes a full battle engagement to put down. Once you commit to fighting – you cannot control the “scale” of that fighting – your adversary has a little bit of a “say” in how big it gets. And – the bigger this thing got – the more international repercussions – repercussions that Obama would have had to be willing to deal with. I don’t see it.

D. Won’t even get into the international uproar over US invading Pakistan and killing troops and possibly innocent civilians.

All told – I just don’t think shooting Pak troops was an option.

We had to have told them – and someone in Paki leadership agreed to keep the troops away.

BUT – it IS a good question to pose to the administration. I wish someone in the media would ask the question – “Mr. President – if the Paki’s had shown up at the compound – what was your plan? Shoot them?”

But no one asks this.

HondaV65 on May 9, 2011 at 12:15 PM

And they used stealth helis because….?

And Pakistan scrambled jet fighters because…?

Your plan B is more likely. I think you don’t give our military enough credit.

Ortzinator on May 9, 2011 at 12:08 PM

It’s not that I don’t give the military credit – I give them more credit than you are.

I’m saying the military rightfully KNEW before hand that the Pakis MIGHT show up and eliminated that threat by telling some moderate Pakis – who kept the troops away.

Steath helos were used because not all of the Paki’s were in on our plan – and we had to use some safeguards – otherwise we’d just have done this in the middle of the day.

Paki’s scrambled jets? Yeah – but none of them got near our helo’s did they?

A moderate Paki helping us out wouldn’t say … “Hay that’s Americans in there so let’s wait until they get out – they’re just shooting old Osama!”

That’s not what happened.

Anyone helping us would have simply STALLED the response. Launched the jets when there was no hope of catching us. Told the troops that “orders from the top” were being sought before entering the compound.

I have no doubt that we could insert without detection – but there would STILL have been at least 10 percent chance the Paki’s would have gotten “lucky” and detected.

And that’s too much of a chance to take.

HondaV65 on May 9, 2011 at 12:20 PM

It’s the same ISI that provided key intelligence to locate OBL so obviously there are some conflicting interests within the sprawling and murky institution.

lexhamfox on May 9, 2011 at 12:45 PM

According to the official, the military and ISI have been weeding some of them out but many remain.

Like I said yesterday in the QOTD thread, this I believe. Bush and Condi did a good job of forcing Musharaff to purge the ranks at the top in both the Army and ISI and funding the re-building a new Army from the bottom up. Then they orchestrated his exit before Bush left office.

Two things I’ll be watching 1) will Musharaff use the anti-American sentiment being stoked in Pakistan to create a national populous uprising to aid in his return? The current leadership is weak and the potential is there. 2) Gen. Petraeus at CIA is a big problem now for ‘rouge’ ISI.

Texas Gal on May 9, 2011 at 12:47 PM

I bet the “rogue elements” inside the ISI are actually the ones helping us, and that the majority of the ISI sides with muslim terrorists. I’d even go farther and say that Pakistan is probably full of ISI terrorist safe houses. If we want to take out terrorist leaders, then we have to infiltrate ISI, it’s that simple. The ISI seem to behave like terrorist caretakers and I wouldn’t be surprised if our tax dollars aren’t being funneld to terrorists through the ISI.

OxyCon on May 9, 2011 at 12:53 PM

We told them.

HondaV65 on May 9, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Then we better hope the CIA don’t manage to locate any other HVTs in Pakistan, because Obama has been rubbing their nose in it something fierce.

ProfessorMiao on May 9, 2011 at 12:56 PM

That was my first thought when I heard where Bin Laden had been hiding. It seemed unlikely to me that Benazir Bhutto’s husband had knowingly harbored Bin Laden. Much more likely was that rogue elements within the military and ISI conducted the Bin Laden coverup on their own.

jonezee on May 9, 2011 at 1:14 PM

BUT – it IS a good question to pose to the administration. I wish someone in the media would ask the question – “Mr. President – if the Paki’s had shown up at the compound – what was your plan? Shoot them?”

But no one asks this.

HondaV65 on May 9, 2011 at 12:15 PM

they had to have that plan. If the paki’s did know, then we still had to have the plan. We had to have three things–1)eyes on the target 24/7, a trump card on the paki’s in case OBL’s hand got tipped 2)contigency plan on dropping any forces that would respond to our assault and 3)a Paki diplomat with his nuts in a vice who was sufficiently ‘motivated’ to keep the paki military AND ISI out of the area. This is the only way the paki’s could’ve known. If these weren’t in play and we rolled in there by complete surprise, then the big balls award goes to ADM McRaven and the boys for flying in there, dropping a big fish, and beating feet out of there. That’s a big score.

ted c on May 9, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Everyone is harping on their corruption. But it’s just as important to take into account their incompetence. And the fact that dealing with them is such a crap shoot that no one in their right mind offers them any information voluntarily. Unfortunately for the forces of civilization, the Pak defense that they simply didn’t know that a major terrrorist headquarters was right next door is entirely possible for any number of reasons.

Fred 2 on May 9, 2011 at 2:12 PM

What, ya mean these guys?

mojo on May 9, 2011 at 4:47 PM