We Were Calling Out the Pakistanis on a Lot of Secrets in Early 2011

One of my favorite ironies from the Greg Miller story on the Mullah Omar death — which doesn’t really try to explain why we’re just learning about a death that all sides likely knew about years ago — is that Mullah Omar, not Osama bin Laden, got hospitalized with kidney problems.

Omar was said to be afflicted with illnesses ranging from kidney failure to meningitis.

But I’m most interested in the timing of our confrontation of Pakistan that they were harboring in the kidney ward: early 2011, or around the same time we were planning our raid on Osama bin Laden (according to some accounts, with the involvement of top Pakistani officials).

In early 2011, then-CIA Director Leon Panetta confronted the president of Pakistan with a disturbing piece of intelligence. The spy agency had learned that Mohammad Omar, the Taliban leader who had become one of the world’s most wanted fugitives after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was being treated at a hospital in southern Pakistan.

The American spy chief even identified the facility — the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi — and said the CIA had “some raw intelligence on this” that would soon be shared with its Pakistani counterpart, according to diplomatic files that summarize the exchange.

I just find it odd that, given the Raymond Davis confrontation and our plans — covert or not — to take out Osama bin Laden, we also had this confrontation.

My guess is one day we’ll learn that all these confrontations were of a piece, and that we’ve long known who was and wasn’t alive (including Ayman al-Zawahiri), but that the powers that be had reason to pretend these people weren’t corpses yet.

Until such time as the next terrorist narrative starts and you have to end the previous one.

Heck. This story might even be coming out as the counter-Osama bin Laden narratives did: to pressure the US about the corrupt deals they’ve long been living under.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

2 replies
  1. orionATL says:

    ah, a new movie francise is born : zombie terrorists.

    prequal: death of the soon to be undead.

    chapter i: return of the one-eyed, one-legged, prophet

    chapter ii: osama be comin’ for YOU.
    .
    .
    orange alert ?
    .
    red alert ?
    .
    comey alert ?
    .
    .
    shelter in place.
    .
    stay calm.
    .
    your government will decide for you.

Comments are closed.