Washington, May 4: The White House has said that Washington was quite clear about its knowledge about the existence of the Abbottabad compound where Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden lived, and "about the communications we did not have with Pakistan intelligence about this operation."
During a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was pointed out that the Pakistan government put out a statement saying that the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) had been providing information about the compound since 2009, whereas in terms of the US media, Washington knew about the compound since 2010.
When asked to explain the discrepancy, Carney said: "What I will do is point you to the comments that John Brennan [Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism] made, and others have made, which is that the Pakistanis have, in general, been very helpful in many ways in the fight against al Qaeda, and that help was of assistance, in general, in the gathering of intelligence and information that led to the successful operation on Sunday."
"I am not aware, and I believe we have said that -- we've been quite clear about our knowledge about the existence of this compound and about the communications we did not have with Pakistan intelligence about this operation," he added.
On being reminded that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari wrote in an American newspaper that his country "did its part," Carney said: "I would say that, as I said earlier, that Pakistan did provide and has provided useful intelligence and cooperation over the years, and broadly speaking, provided assistance that helped us build the mountain of information that we needed to build in order to find bin Laden and execute this mission."
When questioned about the White House's views on the fact that some lawmakers suggested freezing aid to Pakistan until they can demonstrate that they did not know anything about bin Laden's whereabouts, the press secretary replied: "I would just say that it's an important partnership, and Pakistan has been on the frontlines, in many ways, of the fight against al Qaeda and against terrorists. Pakistanis have suffered in large numbers at the hands of terrorists, and the government has provided useful and important assistance and cooperation to us in the years of this struggle against terrorism. So I would leave it at that, while accepting the fact that we do need to find out."
"And as John Brennan said -- we look forward to finding out more information about the support network that did allow bin Laden to hide in this compound in a suburb of Islamabad. And we understand that the Pakistanis are investigating that as well," he added. (ANI)