May 8 - U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon says he has seen no evidence that Pakistan was aware Osama bin Laden was living in a compound in the country. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
The Obama administration says it has seen no evidence that Islamabad knew Osama bin Laden was living in Pakistan before he was killed on May 2nd. U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon spoke on NBC's Meet the Press. SOUNDBITE: U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, saying (English): "I can tell you directly that -- I've not seen evidence that would tell us that the political, the military, or the intelligence leadership had foreknowledge -- of bin Laden." Pakistan, the recipient of billions of dollars in U.S. aid, is under pressure to explain how bin Laden could have spent so many years undetected just a few hours' drive from the intelligence headquarters in the capital. SOUNDBITE: U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, saying (English): "This needs to be investigated. The Pakistanis have said they're going to investigate. This is a very big issue in Pakistan right now. How could this have happened in Pakistan? We need to investigate it. We need to work with the Pakistanis. And we're pressing the Pakistanis on this investigation." While some Pakistanis have taken to the streets in support of bin Laden, the government maintains a staunch posture against militants. Nevertheless there are suspicions that Pakistan's intelligence agency, which has a long history of contacts with militant groups, may have had ties with bin Laden -- or that at least some of its agents did. SOUNDBITE: U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, saying (English): "We've had differences with Pakistan. The harboring of...there was some support network in Abbottabad, Pakistan with the support of bin Laden. We haven't seen evidence that the government knew about that but they need to investigate that. And they need to provide us with intelligence about that -- by the way -- from the compound that they've gathered, including access to Osama bin Laden's three wives whom they have in custody. But it is important to underscore here that we need to act in our national interest. We've had difficulties with Pakistan as I've said. But we've also had to work very closely with Pakistan in our counter-terror efforts. More terrorists and extremists have been captured or killed in Pakistan than anyplace else." Donilon says the killing of bin Laden was "a real blow" to the al Qaeda militant network. He says an administration assessment at the end of last year determined that al Qaeda was in its weakest shape since 2001, although still dangerous. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters