Marco Rubio, Allen West: Pakistan Has Some Explaining To Do

Guy Benson

5/3/2011 10:22:00 AM - Guy Benson
Given the mounting evidence that at least a handful of high-level Pakistani officials have likely known of Osama bin Laden's whereabouts for some time, several Republican lawmakers are calling for Congressional probes into precisely what our "ally" knew, and when.  Senator Marco Rubio appeared on Hugh Hewitt's radio show last evening, which I co-hosted with Hugh.  I asked Sen. Rubio whether he believed the Pakistani government had knowingly provided safe harbor to America's archenemy, and how that possible geopolitical bombshell might affect US-Pakistani relations (our exchange starts around the 2:30 mark).  Although Rubio was a bit circumspect in his response, the tone and subtext of his reply made clear he's extremely dubious of Pakistan's protestations of ignorance:

"The most wanted man in the world lived in an uniquely-constructed multimillion dollar compound in a military neighborhood in the outskirts of the capital city of Islamabad.  I think there should be some questions that need to be answered," Rubio said.  That's fairly blunt talk coming from a Senator who sits on the upper chamber's intelligence and foreign relations committees.

Meanwhile, Rep. Allen West told Fox's Neil Cavuto the US must "re-evaluate" our relationship with Pakistan in light of recent revelations:

And a probe there shall be:

Obama administration officials said Monday they would probe whether Pakistani authorities helped al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden stay in hiding for years, one day after he was killed by U.S. special forces at an outsize mansion complex located in the same city as Pakistan's top military academy.

Emerging details of the U.S. raid immediately raised questions about how bin Laden, the most wanted man in American history, had eluded a manhunt that dates back more than a decade. The al Qaeda leader was cornered not in a remote border hideout but in a three-story mansion complex in Abbottabad, a city roughly 40 miles north of Islamabad that is thick with active and retired Pakistani military personnel.

Senior U.S. officials said Monday that bin Laden clearly had support from within Pakistan that allowed him to live there.

At a news briefing, President Obama's top counterterrorism adviser,John Brennan, credited Pakistan with capturing and killing more terrorists inside its borders than any other country, part of White House efforts since the strike to play down unhappiness with Pakistan. But he also said it was "inconceivable" that bin Laden didn't have a significant "support system" there.

UPDATE - Rep. West is calling on Congress to shut off all foreign aid to Pakistan, pending a full and credible OBL-related explanation from the Pakistani government.  The money quote from his letter to the Appropriations Committee:

Since the September 11th terrorist attack, the United States Government has provided an estimated $20 billion of assistance to the Government of Pakistan.  Questions are arising on whether the Government of Pakistan may have aided and abetted this most wanted international terrorist.

I think it is quite clear that unless we get a clear explanation of what the Government of Pakistan knew about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, all foreign aid from American taxpayers to this nation needs to cease. We need to understand whether the Government of Pakistan was harboring Osama bin Laden for all these years.