“War is deceit,” Muhammad said. Has the memo perhaps gotten all the way around Washington by now that Pakistan can’t be trusted? “Linchpin in hunt for bin Laden back with al-Qaida,” by Adam Goldman for the Associated Press, June 15:
WASHINGTON — A key al-Qaida operative returned to Pakistan by the CIA after he gave the U.S. information that eventually led to the location of Osama bin Laden has since rejoined al-Qaida, U.S. officials say.
The agency returned Hassan Ghul to Pakistan not long after the CIA closed its remaining secret prisons in Eastern Europe in 2006.
The CIA had been given assurances that Ghul, a native of Pakistan, would not go free. But Pakistan failed to keep its word. Ghul was let go and later rejoined al-Qaida, angering the CIA officers who worked so hard to take him off the battlefield, according to former and current U.S. intelligence officials.
Pakistan’s decision to free Ghul is yet another troubling revelation at a time when the U.S. is rethinking its relationship with Pakistan and whether it can be a trusted ally in fighting terrorism. Members of Congress have talked about ending aid to Pakistan after bin Laden was found inside Pakistan, hiding out in an urban area not far from a military garrison. Last week, CIA Director Leon Panetta confronted Pakistan’s intelligence service about tipping off militants running bomb factories aimed at killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
Ghul’s return to Pakistan also raises questions about how the Bush administration, which was committed to keeping arguably less dangerous detainees locked up at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could hand over the man who provided the key information about bin Laden’s trusted courier, intelligence that in May led to bin Laden’s death at the hands of U.S. commandos.
The move frustrated former CIA officers, who at the time believed Ghul should have been moved to Guantanamo along with 14 other high-value detainees like Abu Zubaydah, a major al-Qaida facilitator, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
A U.S. official said Pakistan made promises that it would hold Ghul, only to let him go and re-establish contact with al-Qaida. A senior Pakistani intelligence official said he had no information about Ghul….