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Agencies investigate who spilled the beans

Updated July 12, 2013
Osama bin Laden. — File Photo
Osama bin Laden. — File Photo

KARACHI: Embarrassed by the startling revelations made in the leaked version of the OBL Commission Report, military and civilian intelligence agencies have started investigating whether the document was passed on to a media organisation by one of the Commission members, or by those involved in preparing the draft.

The leaked version of report, uploaded by the Qatar-based media organisation Al-Jazeera, has blamed all government and military institutions of collective failure for their inability to track down Osama Bin Laden while he was living in the country, and for not being able to detect or prevent the unauthorised operation against the Al Qaeda chief by the US Navy SEAL’s deep inside the Pakistani territory.

Authorities investigating the matter believe the Prime Minister’s Office may not have been involved in the leak as the version uploaded on the news organisation’s website is without the signatures of the members, and also somewhat incomplete as, among other things, a dissenting note by one of the Commission members is missing.

According to a well-placed investigator in all probability it was the second draft written after the first failed to elicit a consensus among all the members possibly because it is said to have ‘named too many names’.

Although sources close to the five-member Commission, headed by retired Justice Javaid Iqbal, remained tight-lipped, possibly a bit shocked as well at the sudden revelations, the investigator assigned to look into the ‘leak’ told Dawn that the draft which appeared in the press was the second one.

But even that didn’t lead to a consensus as some of the members refused to sign up to it.

So a third version was written which was agreed by all commission members save for one.

While nobody else would confirm this, the investigator referred to a ‘dissenting note’ said to have been added to this ‘final version’ by an unnamed member.

The final version was then submitted to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat on January 4, 2013, according to reports in the media, but never saw the light of day till the completion of Raja Pervez Ashraf government’s tenure some 10 weeks later.

“With a couple of Islamabad journalists belonging to foreign media organisations suggesting that the ‘report’ was offered to them in exchange for money and other informed media persons linking the timing of the release to tensions between the military and the PML-N administration, we have to investigate all angles,” said the investigator.

He also said he’d be looking into how many copies were made of the draft, where it was saved and how many secretaries/stenos etc had access to it as also staff working for some of the commission members who may have got their hands on a copy purely by chance.

This investigation may or may not go anywhere particularly when whatever disagreement earlier existed on this draft seems to have evaporated when within hours of its leak the Commission chairman happily owned up to it.

However, the truth about what is actually there in the report, and the dissenting note, can be known once it is officially released or placed before the parliament.