News / Asia

US Rejects Pakistan's Criticism of bin Laden Raid

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs reporters at the White House in Washington, Monday, May 9, 2011.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs reporters at the White House in Washington, Monday, May 9, 2011.

The White House says the United States expects a full and complete investigation by Pakistan into what the United States calls a presumed support network that allowed Osama bin Laden to live in Pakistan.  The White House also reacted to remarks by Pakistan's prime minister.

Much of Monday's White House news briefing focused on the investigation Pakistan says is underway after the U.S. special operations raid that killed bin Laden, and remarks by Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the state of U.S.-Pakistan relations.

In an address to Pakistan's parliament, Mr. Gilani rejected allegations that Pakistan's intelligence service or military were aware of Osama Bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad or that they assisted him.

Mr. Gilani said Pakistan's relations with the United States remain strong, but he warned against a similar operation in the future, saying that Pakistan reserves the right to "retaliate with full force."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said consultations continue "at many levels" about access to Osama bin Laden's wives, and to material Pakistan might have collected after the U.S. commando team left bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad.  

Carney had this response when asked whether President Barack Obama trusts the Pakistani leader's pledge to carry out a thorough investigation. "Well, we believe that they will investigate it and we hope that it will be a full and complete investigation.  But we are also obviously investigating ourselves, and this is all part of a cooperative relationship that we need to have and we have had despite our differences in the past and we think we will continue to have going into the future," he said.

Carney said it is "simply beyond a doubt" in President Obama's mind that he had "the right and the imperative" to order the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound.

In an interview with CBS television's "60 Minutes" program that aired on Sunday, President Obama said the United States believes there had to have been some sort of support network for bin Laden inside Pakistan.

Mr. Obama said Pakistan has told the United States that it has a "profound interest" in finding out what kind of support networks the al-Qaida leader had.

On Prime Minister Gilani's statements to Pakistan's parliament, Jay Carney said the United States understands Pakistan's concerns but makes no apology for the operation that killed bin Laden.  "We obviously take the statements and concerns of the Pakistani government seriously.  But we also do not apologize for the action that we took, that this president took," he said.

Carney made no comment when asked whether the United States believes that Pakistani authorities leaked the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad or whether there was a pattern of Pakistani officials leaking the identities of CIA operatives.

Pakistani media last week reported what they said was the name of the CIA station chief, the second time in six months that has happened.  In December, the United States removed a previous CIA station chief from Pakistan after his name was publicly disclosed.

Carney was asked whether the United states has new concerns about Pakistan's ability to protect its nuclear arsenal, given its inability to detect the presence of Osama bin Laden.

Carney said he was not aware of a "link" having been made in the administration between nuclear security and proliferation, and bin Laden's presence in Pakistan.

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