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Homeland Security

Report Blasts Pakistani Leaders Over Bin Laden

July 08, 2013

by VOA News

A leaked Pakistani government report says "collective failure" by that country's military and civilian leaders allowed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden to live there undetected for years.

The 336-page report was published Monday on the website of Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera. It was written by a commission formed by the government to investigate the circumstances surrounding the covert U.S. raid that killed bin Laden in May 2011.

As reported by Al Jazeera, the report said "negligence and incompetence to a greater or lesser degree at almost all levels of government" allowed bin Laden to live in Pakistan for nine years.

It said no evidence was found that current or former Pakistani officials helped bin Laden hide, although that could not be ruled out completely.

The fact that the compound where bin Laden was hiding was located only about one kilometer from an elite Pakistani military academy led many in the U.S. to suspect Pakistani officials of aiding the al-Qaida chief, although Washington never found evidence to back that up.

The report also revealed details of the terrorist leader's daily life. It said bin Laden was so concerned about surveillance that he wore a cowboy hat when he was outside, to avoid detection from above.

The widow of one of bin Laden's key aides told the commission that bin Laden and his entourage once were stopped for speeding in Swat region. But she said her husband "very quickly settled the matter with the policeman" before he could recognize the al-Qaida leader.

Pakistani officials said for years they did not know the whereabouts of the world's most wanted man or even if he was alive.

In the wake of the raid that killed bin Laden, it emerged that Pakistani authorities were kept in the dark about the U.S. operation.

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