Free Markets, Free People

Was bin Laden in an ISI safehouse?

Lots of bits and pieces coming out about the raid.

This was a targeted kill mission, not just a raid. They didn’t go in to capture bin Laden, they went in to kill him. And they did. It is reported he got the classic "double tap" to the left side of the head. Now he’s fish food. Appropriate. But … it also kills this "justice" nonsense in the legal sense. Legally, that’s not how we dispense justice. So, as some have said, and I agree, this removes the actions he was killed for from the "criminal" realm.

The mission was carried out by the legendary SEAL Team 6. They were the right guys for this type of mission and they apparently carried it out magnificently, even with one of their aircraft going down with mechanical failure. Or said another way, this wasn’t remotely a "Desert One". It was a well planned, well executed job for which everyone in the chain of command, from the President on down, deserve a pat on the back.

The compound bin Laden was in was built in 2005.  At the time it was pretty isolated – well, other than being 1,000 yards from the Pakistani equivalent of West Point.  Since then some other structures were built near it.

That said, there are a lot of interesting rumors flying around not the least of which are claims in the Indian media that the fortress/house/mansion was an ISI “safe house”.  ISI is the Pakistani intelligence services which has always been suspect in its loyalty and frequently cited as having given aid to al Qaeda and the Taliban. MEMRI has the story.   From “India Today”:

"A senior Pakistan military official has told India Today that it was impossible for the army to have not known that Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was in Abbottabad. This has further fuelled speculation that Osama was killed in an ISI safehouse.

Another Indian website reported the following:

"Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] is bound to be cornered in the days to come following the killing of dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden.

"A source in the intelligence agency says that Osama’s death will no doubt put the ISI in a very uncomfortable position among the Al-Qaeda, Haqqani Network, and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, who now feel betrayed by the agency.

[…]

"Nothing in the Af-Pak region goes unnoticed by the ISI, and if bin Laden managed to play hide-and-seek with the world all this while, it was only thanks to ISI’s patronage. Although the U.S. has claimed that Pakistan was not in the know of this operation, terror groups would not believe so.

"They are aware that nothing is possible unless there has been a certain degree of support from the establishment. Moreover, Osama was living in a place close to the army headquarters in Abbottabad, about 70 kilometers northeast of Pakistan’s capital Islamabad. This is not a fact that would have gone unnoticed by the ISI.

The Times of India also claims the ISI was involved in sheltering bin Laden:

"The finger of suspicion is now pointing squarely at the Pakistani military and intelligence for sheltering and protecting Osama bin Laden before U.S. forces hunted him down and put a bullet in his head in the wee hours of Sunday. The coordinates of the action and sequence of events indicate that the Al-Qaeda fugitive may have been killed in an ISI safehouse.

There’s some ground truth in there – the ISI has a fearful reputation in the region and little if anything is unknown to them.  They’ve been constantly accused of playing both sides of the fence in this conflict.  Few if any in the region, among terror organizations, are going to believe this all happened without the ISI’s knowledge and compliance.  And that puts them in a very tough spot as the report indicates.

So bin Laden death may end up being one of the best things to happen in some time if it casts enough suspicion to break up this unholy alliance between the Pakistani state intelligence agency and the terrorists.  Trust me, it will take a loooooong time (if it ever happens) for those two entities to ever have close ties again.

And that, my friends, is a good thing.

~McQ

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30 Responses to Was bin Laden in an ISI safehouse?

  • They didn’t go in to capture bin Laden, they went in to kill him. And they did

    For all we know. It is equally likely that he’s currently in some dark hole wearing polish prison garb, referred to only as “Prisoner #523473″, and will spend the next couple of years being tortured out of his mind to get him to spill every little thing he knows.
    It isn’t like anyone will ask them to produce him, what with him being “buried at sea”…

    • “It is equally likely that he’s currently in some dark hole wearing polish prison garb, referred to only as “Prisoner #523473″, and will spend the next couple of years being tortured out of his mind to get him to spill every little thing he knows.”
       
      In all this news, that comment finally made me smile.  Seems I have a darker side than I knew.

    • I guess I’m sick too, because I really, really like that option…

  • to break up this unholy alliance between the Pakistani state intelligence agency and the terrorists.

    >>>  What if they’re one and the same?

  • Now, it has been confirmed that it was UBL who hid behind the woman.
    Doesn’t that make it 72 Virginians, instead of 72 virgins ?

  • “It was a well planned, well executed job for which everyone in the chain of command, from the President on down, deserve a pat on the back.”

    Oh, gimme a break! Need I remind you who sits in the Oval Office? The guy that STILL can’t make up his mind if our goal in Libya is “regime change” or not? He couldn’t pick bin Laden out of a line up without his teleprompter and a scorecard. This operation was successful despite Obama, not because of him — wait 10-15 years for the real story to come out, and I’m sure you’ll be shocked by what was really going on behind the scenes.

    BTW, Muslim clerics all over the ME are howling that throwing Osama into the sea was a deliberate insult to Islam, etc., etc. Expect Obama to apologize for THAT faux-pas in fairly short order.

    • “BTW, Muslim clerics all over the ME are howling that throwing Osama into the sea was a deliberate insult to Islam, etc., etc. Expect Obama to apologize for THAT faux-pas in fairly short order.”
       
      Not half as bad as some of the insults I’ve heard people suggest today, virtually all of which involved pork products.
       

  • The ISI is hardly operating in the vacuum.  They implemented the policy but I doubt they operated without consent or knowledge of the government.  And the indirect consent of the Pakistani people. 

    This only feeds my theory is that the only thing holding back the capture of Bin Laden was our willingness to exclude Pakistan from the operation and/or forcing Pakistan to pick a side. 

    Its not new skill or new planning, but a change of willingness to alienate Pakistan that enabled Bin Laden’s capture.  It will be a while before we know if the consequences were worth it. 

  • All your sources seem to be Indian, and the mutual antipathy between India and Pakistan should probably be taken into consideration. This sentence in particular seems a bit improbable; ” A senior Pakistan military official has told India Today that it was impossible for the army to have not known that Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was in Abbottabad.” It is a little hard for me to believe a senior Pakistani telling the Indians that the Pakistani army was conspiring with BinLaden.

    Of course that does not mean they are wrong, and given the wealth of past data from other sources I would say they are probably correct this time.

    • Oh I understand the problems between India and Pakistan, but like I said, there’s some “ground truth” in there, regardless of who is saying it. And we agree – they’re probably correct on this one.

  • The mission was carried out by the legendary SEAL Team 6. They were the right guys for this type of mission and they apparently carried it out magnificently, even with one of their aircraft going down with mechanical failure.

     
    Men of Steel.
    They deserve whatever they want.
    You know, I’m not sure if this is the right time to quote a bad Bruce Willis movie or not, but here it goes…
     

    Harry Stamper: [riffles through sheets of paper] Well, there’s uh, few things here, uh… nothin’ really big, uh, just- Well, as an example, uh, uh, Oscar here, he’s got some outstanding parking tickets. Wants them wiped off his record.
    Oscar: [shouting from balcony] Fifty-six tickets in seven states…
    Harry Stamper: [to Oscar] I’ll-I’ll tell ‘em Oscar, you got it.
    Oscar: Okay.
    Harry Stamper: Uh, Noonan’s got two women friends that he’d like to see made American citizens no questions asked. Max would like you to… bring back eight-track tapes. Not sure if that’s gonna work, but, uh, let’s see what else. Um, Chick wants a full week’s Emperor’s Package at Caesar’s Palace. Um – hey, you guys wouldn’t be able to tell us who actually killed Kennedy, would ya?
    [pause, turns and shakes his head]
    Harry Stamper: Um, Bear would like to stay at the…
    [tries to read writing]
    Harry Stamper: “White horse”?
    [looks up at Bear]
    Bear: White, *House*. White House.
    Harry Stamper: White House. Yeah, he’d like to stay in the Lincoln bedroom of the White House for the summer. Stuff like that.
    Truman: Sure, I think we can, uh, take care of… some of that.
    Rockhound: [shouting from balcony] Harry!
    Harry Stamper: [motions back at Rockhound] Yeah one more thing, um… none of them wanna pay taxes again.
    [pauses]
    Harry Stamper: Ever.
     

    No more taxes for these guys … ever.
     
    Cheers.

    • definitely

    • “The SEAL team that killed Bin Laden are scheduled to received to Navy Cross, Silver Star and Guinness Book record for most blow jobs received.”

      • Too funny! In all seriousness, as I am not up on the standards for awards, isn’t this MoH stuff?
         
        Side note: A Lib commentator (Dreyfus?) at The Nation is calling this an assassination. To which I say, damn straight, and if we had a few more “assassinations” and less concern for treating terrorists as criminals we’d be better off. YMMV.

        • No. This is called “doing your job and loving it”. However, most likely there wasn’t anything involved in the action which would approach MOH territory.

          As for Dreyfus – meh.

        • If they had to fight the Pakistani army on the way out and doge the airforce then probably

    • Concur!!!

    • According to another one of those White House briefings of reporters designed to suck up all available credit for good news, President Obama’s homeland security advisor reveals that it was a really tense time in the air-conditioned White House as unidentified U.S. Navy SEALs closed in on the world’s most wanted man after midnight a half a world away.

      If it would make Obama look better, the White House would claim that it was Obams’s house the UBL was living in.

  • Its entirely plausible that the house was built on some pre-text and then a few years later Osama was slipped in.
    I don’t know Pakistan well, but in most parts of the world, rich people build these compounds all the time, with walls and barbed wire. (or broken glass instead.) So that would not gave aroused suspicions so much.
    If Osama was only dealing with a few people – only a few men actually killed on site – then it would be even harder for the ISI to know about it. They may be good, but I bet they are more about funding terrorists that want to be funded, not trying to hide from them.
    I mean, we had a guy on parole manage to keep his sex slave hidden for a decade in CA.
    That whole burial at sea was probably already decided in 2002 and was executed in 10 hours or less. Good idea. Every other plan would have drawbacks.
    I think they should release the photos. Already I see a lot of “deatherism” starting up. Is it just disgruntlement with Obama or are conspiracy theories just more common now?

  • Sorry I mangled my comment. I’m getting spoiled by Disqus with its edit button.

  • It is reported he got the classic “double tap” to the left side of the head

    Allow me to pick a few nits:

    The classic “double tap” is two quick shots to the body.
    The “El Presidente” is a double tap to the body, then one to the head.
    The “coup de gras” is the shot to the head after a firing squad execution.

    Another one bites the dust, Hey!, Hey!
    Big :-)
     

    • I don’t think double tap has to be to the body. That was the initial intent, but its a technique that could be applied to different targets.

      Double tap to center chest followed by single shot to head is “Mozambique drill”.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozambique_Drill

      “El Presidente” is a drill with three IPSC targets: start with back to targets, pivot and draw, double tap each target, reload, double tap each again. It’s a great drill that tests all the basic combat pistol skills. I think the tagets are 1 m apart and 10 meters away from the shooter.

      • Yup , I stand corrected (excuse: it’s been YEARS, and my memory ain’t what it used to be).

  • EAST WENATCHEE, Wash. – A teacher who vowed nearly 10 years ago not to cut his beard until Osama bin Laden was captured or proven dead said he cried Sunday night upon hearing of the terrorist’s death. “I spent my first five minutes crying and then I couldn’t get it off fast enough,” said Gary Weddle, 50, who lives in East Wenatchee but teaches middle school science in Ephrata.