What did Pakistan know about bin Laden?

May 3, 2011 1:21:15 PM PDT
Pure gobbledygook. That's one takeaway from the convoluted statement issued by Pakistan today over the death of Osama bin Laden.

Actually, "death" might be a big mild. Assassination might be more accurate. Not that I'm casting any derogatory meaning to the word in this case; after all, bin Laden is responsible for killing thousands of innocent people.

But the White House this afternoon confirmed what had been widely reported yesterday: Bin Laden was unarmed when he was confronted at his compound outside Islamabad on Sunday.

But I digress.

Pakistan's statement was all over the map, reflecting, many say, the fence-walking the country's been doing in the war on terror. A tough political balancing act so as not to tick off its own all-over-the-place population and the U.S., which forks over at least $1.5 billion every year and provides all sorts of assistance and aid.

The government says it understands the death of bin Laden is a milestone event in the war on terror, but then wants to make it clear it had no prior knowledge of the U.S. Navy Seal raid of bin Laden's compound, and doesn't much like the fact that the U.S. did this on its own, without informing Pakistan.

And then the government quickly adds that it had been closely monitoring this compound anyway. For years. Say what? So Pakistan knew this was bin Laden's haven? Is that what the government is saying? And if that's true, it did nothing about it?

Fence sitting can be dangerous. So can backing fence sitters. There will be many calls for the U.S. to stop giving aid to Pakistan, but experts say it's too vital an ally for that to happen. So what to do? That will be the focus of some of our Jim Dolan's reporting in Pakistan, beginning tonight at 11. How could the Pakistani's have not known bin Laden was in their midst? Question number one on Jim's reporting to-do list.

We're also awaiting a White House decision whether to release photos and video of the bin Laden raid and his burial at sea. The U.S. claims that the funeral aspects were all done in accordance with Islamic tradition, but that tradition does not include burial at sea, only in the ground. Spin, spin, spin.

There are good arguments for not releasing the pictures, but most politicos say there are even better arguments in favor. We'll see, and have the photos for you, if they're released, at 11.

We're also at round one of the annual rent guidelines board meetings to figure out the rent hikes for the coming year. Ug and double ug that's the reaction from tenants who are already struggling with higher prices in every other part of their lives. Please and double please that's the reaction from landlords who are also struggling with those same price hikes in life.

It's an unfair system for both sides, landlords and tenants. But fair or not, it's the system that faces about 1 million New Yorker renters. Lucy Yang is at round one, tonight at 11.

We'll also have any other breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.


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