The World

May 5, 2011

Spy versus spy … when even the closest allies have secrets

The world of intelligence is, by definition, shrouded in secrecy, so that often what we know is limited or partial and the rest is, hopefully, what makes sense based on a longer-term picture of events.

Professor Damien Kingsbury

Crikey international affairs commentator

The world of intelligence — spying to you and me — is by definition shrouded in secrecy, so that often what we know is limited or partial and the rest is, hopefully, what makes sense based on building up a longer-term picture of events. The question of who knew what and how that was handled in the tracking of Osama bin Laden is a case in point.

It is known that the US had been tracking Osama bin Laden closely for the past few years, had known where his hideout was since last August and had been planning how to neutralise him since that time. We also know that massive bombs were considered as one option, but that a highly detailed raid by two units of special forces operatives was chosen instead.

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5 thoughts on “Spy versus spy … when even the closest allies have secrets

  1. paddy

    [Umar Patek, the last key person involved in the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 2002 people including 88 Australians, was in Abbotabad.]
    2002 killed? Where’s Mick the subbie?

  2. Gavin Moodie

    A Pakistani analyst, interviewed on the BBC’s world service newshour rebroadcast on ABC news radio on the morning bin Laden’s killing was announced, argued that Pakistani officials must have known of bin Laden’s whereabouts and decided to disclose it to the US now to improve poor relations with the US but have not admitted this publicly since this would alienate a sizeable and potentially dangerous section of Pakistan’s population.

  3. klewso

    With the perception of the way Pakistan is crawling with US “intelligence gatherers” (of one type or another), with their reputation, it’s a wonder they took this long to find him.
    Then again, there was those “WMD’s” too.

  4. Greg Angelo

    In trying to join the dots in relation to the killing of Osama Bin Ladenand and the almost unbelievable assumption that Osama was in Pakistan without the knowledge of the ISI, it has occurred to me that the ISI would prefer to have Osama killed rather than spill the beans on their duplicity if he was captured. I also find inconceivable that US helicopters could penetrate into Pakistani without being detected.

    Accordingly I have assumed that the ISI having had its cover blown would have agreed toturn a blind eye to the US assault on a Osama’s hideout on the basis that he did not live to disclose any secrets in relation to his relationship with Pakistani intelligence. Otherwise I would assume that capturing Osama alive would have been over even bigger intelligence coup.

  5. j-boy57

    Abbotabad sounds very toney………….

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