Fed Grand Jury Should Investigate Pakistan’s Protection of bin Laden, Author Says

By Jeff Stein
Spy Talk

WASHINGTON — Steve Coll, author of two books on the CIA’s pursuit of Osama Bin Laden, said out loud Monday what U.S. officials are loathe to admit publicly: Pakistan had to be protecting the late al Qaeda founder.

And he called on the Justice Department to get to the bottom of Pakistan’s complicity in hiding Bin Laden in Abbottabad, a military cantonment crawling with retired officers about 75 miles north of the capital.

“It stretches credulity to think that a mansion of that scale could have been built and occupied by bin Laden for six years without its coming to the attention of anyone in the Pakistani Army,” Coll wrote on the Web site of The New Yorker magazine, where he is a contributor.

“The initial circumstantial evidence suggests that the opposite is more likely—that bin Laden was effectively being housed under Pakistani state control,” Coll continued. Pakistan will deny this, it seems safe to predict, and perhaps no convincing evidence will ever surface to prove the case.”

No matter:

“If I were a prosecutor at the United States Department of Justice, however, I would be tempted to call a grand jury. Who owned the land on which the house was constructed? How was the land acquired, and from whom? Who designed the house, which seems to have been purpose-built to secure bin Laden? Who was the general contractor? Who installed the security systems? Who worked there? Are there witnesses who will now testify as to who visited the house, how often, and for what purpose?”

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