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ISI and Pak army knew of Osama hideout: Stratfor email

Mid to senior level officials in the ISI and military in Pakistan knew the arrangements for Osama bin Laden and his Abbottabad-safe house, claims a leaked email of Stratfor, the US-based global intelligence firm.

world Updated: Feb 27, 2012 23:06 IST

Mid to senior level officials in the ISI and military in Pakistan knew the arrangements for Osama bin Laden and his Abbottabad-safe house, claims a leaked email of Stratfor, the US-based global 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 US 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 organizations, 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.

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 the controversial Pakistan general Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service, who, according to US diplomatic cables, planned an IED attack on international forces in Afghanistan in 2006.

Burton said he is 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 can't 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.