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US President Barack Obama. - Reuters Photo

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama, in some of his most blunt remarks to date, said on Monday that Osama bin Laden would have escaped if the United States had sought Pakistan's permission ahead of the raid on the al Qaeda leader's compound.

Obama administration officials have previously justified the decision not to involve Islamabad by citing the risk that bin Laden might somehow be tipped off and flee his compound in Abbottabad before the team of Navy SEALs arrived.

Leon Panetta, then the director of the CIA and now defence secretary, said in an interview with TIME magazine shortly after the May 2011 raid that there was a concern that the Pakistanis “might alert the targets.”

But in Monday's presidential foreign policy debate against Republican opponent Mitt Romney, Obama presented such risk as a certainty.

“If we had asked Pakistan (for) permission, we would not have gotten him,” Obama said.

The bin Laden raid was one of the many issues Obama used to differentiate himself from his opponent.

Romney - during his failed bid for the 2008 Republican nomination - criticised Obama for warning publicly that, if Islamabad didn't act, he would go into Pakistan to get high value targets like bin Laden. Romney suggested such comments were not helpful in building ties.

On Monday, Romney said he also would have ordered the raid.

“We had to go into Pakistan. We had to go in there to get Osama bin Laden. That was the right thing to do,” Romney said.

The question of who in Pakistan might have known about bin Laden's whereabouts is still a matter of speculation.

The Pakistani ambassador to the United States at the time of the raid, Husain Haqqani, told a forum in Washington in August that he believed someone somewhere in Pakistan must have known — a similar sentiment echoed by Panetta.

“I don't have any hard evidence, so I can't say it for a fact. There's nothing that proves the case. But as I said, my personal view is that somebody somewhere probably had that knowledge,” Panetta told CBS' “60 Minutes” program in January.

Comments (44) Closed

dave Oct 24, 2012 12:50am
too long post...however the world knows..
Shan Oct 23, 2012 07:34am
Shame [leaders of Pakistan and Pakistani Generals] that people thousands of miles away are fixing the destination of more than 180 million people.
dave Oct 24, 2012 12:53am
scary (for pakistan) for this state of denial...
dave Oct 24, 2012 12:57am
and who are you to judge??..Ms
John Rishba Oct 23, 2012 07:09pm
Pakistan has been declared a failed state ( 12th on the list ) , and if the government there does not mend it self then soon that country will also be known as rogue state.
Ragu Oct 23, 2012 10:31am
Pakistan says one thing and does the opposite when it comes to terrorists. The whole world knows it. The drones in fact are a result.
Mohdudul Huq Oct 23, 2012 11:40am
Who gave intelligent information to US regarding this raid?
asim Oct 23, 2012 04:46pm
absolutely! when you are not in control, just chill out.
Shahzad Latif Oct 23, 2012 02:09pm
This is not what he said. He said he would not have gotten permission from Pakistan if he had asked. Please read the transcript.
Adnan Oct 23, 2012 04:28pm
Agree with you Hamza, US didn't even take five minutes to show the world that they have caught Ladin. Another conspiracy, well organised by US yet again...
ishtiaq Oct 23, 2012 04:13pm
I don't understand what's the big deal if Americans killed OBL. the big deal is how in the heck was he there and how in the heck ISI and etc, didn't about his presence all these years. No one seems to be raising this issue when the responsible parties are right there in Pakistan. Dr. Afridi is arrested for supplying info to americans shows that Pakis knew OBL was there and that they didn't want anyone supplying this info to Americans.
Pakistani Oct 23, 2012 10:00am
Everything was preplanned and we all know the reality so no need to explain us.
Ganesh Oct 23, 2012 04:14pm
World Terrorism Epicenter is in Pakistan. Pakistan is a failed state.
Blitzer Oct 23, 2012 04:00pm
I am not surprised the least bit by Obama's comment. He's a politicians and their kind would do or say anything to get reelected.
ronniq Oct 23, 2012 02:50pm
guaranteed OBL would have been tipped off by the same people who arranged his sanctuary in Pakistan. To believe otherwise is to be in denial in my opinion
Proud Pakistani Oct 23, 2012 09:12pm
4. Language that is offensive to any race, religion, ethnicity, gender or nationality is not permitted. "misguided religion" wake up moderator!
Anu Oct 23, 2012 09:50pm
Typical response of denial -- to come up with some fanciful conspiracy theory. Why doesn't Romney come up with such fantasy stories if it was cooked up just to help Obama in his election campaign? US has already said that given the "holy" status of Obama among so many Muslims, to release any graphic pictures would have risked even more madness from Muslims.
Dr Mian Amir Sohail Oct 23, 2012 12:58pm
Nobody saw or heard Osama alive in Abbottabad or Pakistan and nobody saw Osama dead anywhere in the world including Abbottabad and Pakistan. Many years before the May 02, 2011 event Osama was reportedly suffering from kidney failure and the report of his death was published in pakistani newspapers around 2005-6. His family might have been living somewhere but nobody even "saw and heard" them making any statement in person or in front of media. Osama's trophy remains a figment of imagination, as fictitious as the weapons of mass destruction of Iraq. Throwing the body of the most sought person in human history in the sea just a few hours after his reported killing even before any, including US media could record his remains in camera almost confirms it to be a cock and bull story. This has helped USA threefold, firstly, it has given USA an obvious much desired reason to withdraw its army from this never ending war on terrorism;secondly, it is a huge trophy for Obama for his election campaign and thirdly, it gives the USA and its anti-Pakistan allies ample reason to pressurize the pakistani government and people to 'do more and more' and even get killed for US desires. vast majority of pakistani people and more than half of the US public do not believe in May 02 Osama story.
sradhanand Oct 23, 2012 12:58pm
The man who helped get the information is in Pakistani prison
Anupa Oct 23, 2012 09:46am
Probably the 180 million people deserve it if they cannot come out of the black hole of misguided religion, terror and lack of education and empathy with their neighbors.
Dr Mian Amir Sohail Oct 24, 2012 02:32pm
Of course, the US claim is fiction. For more facts of that eventful night please read my article 'Tail of a Tale' in the Frontier Post , August 30, 2011.
Paul D Oct 24, 2012 08:51pm
Like India, Pakistan should be run on a multi cultural,multi religious basis not narrow minded extremism.
Ahmed Oct 23, 2012 04:25pm
Yours is the delusional world that too many "educated" Pakistanis live in.
karim Oct 23, 2012 03:03pm
I have to agree with Obama on this. Pakistani security forces are thoroughly infiltrated by terrorist supporters and sympathizers.
Menon Oct 23, 2012 02:24pm
You can decide for yourself, who is lying. The fact is Osama is dead. You might not believe he is dead!
Menon Oct 23, 2012 02:22pm
"The question of who in Pakistan might have known about bin Laden
Parvez Oct 23, 2012 09:25am
Musharraf said it was in-competence, now Obama says its complicity. Who's right ? Possibly both are lying.
mohammad hamza Oct 23, 2012 10:37am
Why accept responsibility for what is quite possibly a great con job. All developments and circumstances lead to it No conclusive evidence has been presented so far. Just relax
Riz Oct 23, 2012 07:12pm
To Pakistanis..everything is a conspiracy against them.....
LarryAt27N Oct 24, 2012 01:14am
Disclosure: the above comment is fiction, top to bottom.
ronniq Oct 23, 2012 02:51pm
what is 3rd option if both are lying
Dr Mian Amir Sohail Oct 24, 2012 02:28pm
You mean 'OSAMA' in your last sentence? Right! Frankly speaking Osama never had a 'Holy' status in Pakistan. He was one of the freedom fighter of the Afghan-Russia war. Rather during that time he was the 'blue-eyed boy' for the Americans. After that he was a backgound personality in Pakistan, not much talked about nor was he tracked like a celebrity. He was more of an Afghanistan hero rather than a Pakistani leader. Religious leaders we have aplenty in Pakistan. Romney, I believe, would love to disparage Obama's claim, but the way he was castigated about his critique of Obama's foreign on the death of US ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya, he is hushed up on this US national claim.
Roney Indian Oct 23, 2012 08:03pm
Yeah right! come out of ur imaginary world, u guys see conspiracy in everything just like ur fanatic brotherhood!!
Hrleen Oct 23, 2012 06:43pm
Sure. Whole world lies and only place in world where no one lie is Pakistan. Why have you arrested Dr Afridi ?
Dr Mian Amir Sohail Oct 24, 2012 02:06pm
Hollywood is an imaginary world and so is Bollywood and the countries where these are situated. Reality is substantiated by solid proof and not words of mouth. Imaginations have killed hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq during search for the imaginary weapons of mass destruction-WMDs whereas in reality it lead to control of the oil wealth of that country.
dave Oct 24, 2012 12:56am
another example of denial..sad sad...state
Abhishek Oct 23, 2012 11:38pm
You people can never stop stealing credit, don't you? Shamelessly, you have put the man who helped catch such an evil terrorist inside a prison without a trial, and yet you are here begging for some credit.
Muhammed Haris Oct 23, 2012 07:08pm
Why don't we accept that Pakistan is a failed idea, get rid of religion in public life, kick all Taliban, generals, extremists & terrorists out the country, organize a new government with competent persons and start all over again.
another view. Oct 23, 2012 06:27pm
Anyone go to youtube and type who did 911
Raj Oct 24, 2012 10:34am
Dear Friend, I advise you to read it again. What Obama said is "
pathanoo Oct 23, 2012 07:32pm
If there is any truism about Pakistan; Obama just said it. And, I am not even an Obama supporter.
skeptic Oct 23, 2012 06:03pm
and the USA also convinced all of Osama's wives who were living in the compound to come to Abbottabad for a vacation along with their children on an all expense paid trip. Wake up
raja hindustani Oct 23, 2012 01:45pm
obama is right
AHA Oct 23, 2012 10:58am
But we already know this.