‘ISI, Pak army knew of Osama hideout’

Certain officials in the ISI and Pakistani military, including a retired General, knew the arrangements for Osama bin Laden and his Abbottabad-safe house, claims a leaked email of Stratfor, the U.S.-based global private intelligence firm.

“Mid to senior level ISI and Pak military with one retired Pak Military 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, leaked by WikiLeaks, to one of his company’s regional director for South Asia soon after the killing of the al-Qaeda chief by the U.S. commandos in a daring operation 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 ISI and Pakistan military had information on bin Laden, he writes in the leaked email.

In the leaked email, Burton informs 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 ISI and Pakistan military officials who had knowledge of this arrangement for Osama bin Laden. 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.

However, the Pakistan government has said that the Pakistani establishment had no knowledge of the whereabout of bin Laden or his stay in Abbottabad.

PTI has not been independently able to verify the authenticity of this leaked email. The Startfor website does confirm that its system has been compromised and an investigation is on in this regard, for which it has sought the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

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