Leon Panetta tells ‘60 Minutes’: We worried that Pakistan might give Osama bin Laden a heads-up

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In an interview this weekend with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta explains why the United States didn’t tell Pakistan it was making a raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound last year.
“We had seen some military helicopters actually going over this compound,” Panetta tells Scott Pelley. “And for that reason, it concerned us that, if we, in fact, brought [Pakistan] into it, that they might … give bin Laden a heads-up.”

Navy SEALs found and killed bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks, at the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, last spring.

Panetta tells “60 Minutes” that he believes some Pakistan higher-up knew where bin Laden was hiding and cites intelligence reports that Pakistani military helicopters flew over the compound.

“I personally have always felt that somebody must have had some sense of what was happening at this compound. Don’t forget, this compound had 18-foot walls,” Panetta tells Pelley. “It was the largest compound in the area. So you would have thought that somebody would have asked the question, ‘What the hell’s going on there?’ ”

The Panetta interview airs at 7 p.m. Sunday on WKMG-Channel 6. In the wide-ranging interview, Panetta talks about the military budget, Iran and U.S. fighting around the world.

“We’re going after al Qaeda, wherever they’re at,” Panetta says. “And clearly, we’re confronting al Qaeda in Pakistan. We’re confronting the nodes of al Qaeda in Yemen, in Somalia, in North Africa. … and obviously whatever al Qaeda links are involved in Afghanistan.”

But al Qaeda has not been defeated yet, Panetta adds. “They’re still a real threat. There’s still al Qaeda out there. And we’ve got to continue to put pressure on them wherever they’re at,” Panetta says.

Source http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com


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