CIA gets access to Abbottabad compound

Pakistan has agreed to permit the CIA to send in a forensic team to search Osama bin Laden’s compound, The Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing US officials.

The CIA team will arrive at the compound in Abbottabad within days to thoroughly search the residence where US Navy commandos killed bin Laden on May 2 in a unilateral raid that angered Islamabad, the report said.

“The assault team was there for only 40 minutes,” an unnamed US official told The Washington Post.

“The aim is to return to the site — to do another, more thorough, look.”

The CIA plans to use infra-red cameras and other devices capable of identifying materials possibly embedded behind walls, inside safes or underground, The Washington Post reported. The Central Intelligence Agency was not immediately available for comment.

CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell negotiated the arrangement in a visit to Pakistan last week, when he met the chief of the country’s intelligence service, Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the newspaper wrote.

The agreement signalled a step towards cooperation amid intense US diplomatic efforts to shore up strained relations with Pakistan in the aftermath of the raid. The CIA has also been granted access to materials that Pakistan’s security forces have recovered from the compound, officials told the newspaper.

The agency has asked Inter-Services Intelligence for help in analysing some of the
material that was seized in the raid, including deciphering references to names of individuals and places, the report said.

US intelligence officials have called the trove of computer files and notebooks found at the bin Laden compound as the largest intelligence find ever recovered from a terrorist network.

The Express Tribune

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