Middle to senior-level officials of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistani military knew the arrangements for Osama bin Laden and his Abbottabad safe house, claimed a leaked Stratfor email, the Hindustan Times reported on Monday.
Whistleblowing website WikiLeaks on Monday began publishing more than five million confidential emails from the US-based intelligence firm.
“Mid- to senior-level ISI and Pakistani military, with one retired general, that had knowledge of the OBL (Osama bin laden) arrangements and safe house,” wrote Fred Burton, Stratfor’s vice president for intelligence, in an email to one of his company’s regional director for South Asia, soon after the killing of the al Qaeda chief on May 2 last year in Abbottabad.
Burton, who is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on security, terrorists and terrorist organisations, however, did not reveal his source of such an information, but did say that it was coming from his source in Pakistan. Less than a dozen people within the ISI and the Pakistan military had information on bin Laden, he writes in the leaked email.
According to the Indian paper, Burton informed Kamran Bokhari, Stratfor’s regional director for the Middle East and South Asia, that the source, however, did not provide him with the names of the ISI and Pakistan military officials who had knowledge of this arrangement for Osama.
At the same time, he asserted that the American intelligence knew about it.
“Names unk (unknown) to me and not provided. Specific ranks unk to me and not provided. But, I get a very clear sense we (US intel) know names and ranks,” Burton wrote in his email dated May 13 using his Blackberry, the paper said.
Wikileaks alleged that whereas large numbers of Stratfor’s subscribers and clients work in the US military and intelligence agencies, it gave a complimentary membership to former ISI chief, Gen (r) Hamid Gul, who according to US diplomatic cables, planned an IED attack on international forces in Afghanistan in 2006.
Burton said he was not sure, if this information was passed on to the government of Pakistan, quickly adding that if he was in command he would not do so as Pakistan could not be trusted.
“I also do not know if we have passed this info to the GOP (Government of Pakistan). If I was in command, I would not pass the info to the GOP, because we can’t trust them. I would piece meal the names off and bury in a list of other non-related names for internal ISI traces in a non-alerting fashion, to see what the Pakis tell us. I may also trade one or two names for the captured tail rudder,” he wrote.