ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's prime minister said Monday that Osama bin Laden's death in an American raid was "indeed justice done" but warned Washington that future unilateral strikes inside the nation's borders could be met with "full force."
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani insisted Pakistan's key relationship with the United States remained strong despite the May 2 raid by Navy SEALs who crossed into the country from Afghanistan in helicopters with radar-evading technology. But in a sign of deep strains, Pakistani media have reported what they said was the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad in an apparent leak aimed at damaging covert American activity in the country.
In his first address to parliament since the raid, Gilani defended his nation's military and its Inter-Services Intelligence agency, which has been heavily criticized at home for failing to stop the U.S. operation, and he lashed out at allegations Pakistan knew where bin Laden was hiding.
"It is disingenuous for anyone to blame Pakistan or state institutions of Pakistan, including the ISI and the armed forces, for being in cahoots with al-Qaida," Gilani said. "Elimination of Osama bin Laden, who launched waves after waves of terrorists attacks against innocent Pakistanis, is indeed justice done."
Gilani agreed that the failure to find bin Laden was a mistake but insisted it wasn't Pakistan's alone.
"Yes, there has been an intelligence failure," Gilani said. "It is not only ours but of all the intelligence agencies of the world."
U.S. officials have said they see no evidence that anyone in the upper echelons of Pakistan's military and intelligence establishment was complicit in hiding bin Laden. But they still have serious questions about how the al-Qaida chief was able to hole up for up to six years in the army town of Abbottabad, just 35 miles (55 kilometers) from the capital, Isill have serious questions about how the al-Qaida chief was able to hole up for up to six years in the army town of Abbottabad, just 35 miles (55 kilometers) from the capital, Islamabad.
President Barack Obama said the U.S. believes bin Laden must have had a support network inside Pakistan.
"But we don't know who or what that support network was," Obama said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS' "60 Minutes." "We don't know whether there might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government, and that's something that we have to investigate, and more importantly, the Pakistani government has to investigate."
Gilani warned the U.S., which has carried out numerous drone strikes on militant targets along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, not to try a similar covert raid in the future, saying "unilateralism runs the inherent risk of serious consequences."
"Pakistan reserves the right to retaliate with full force," Gilani said. "No one should underestimate the resolve and capability of our nation and armed forces to defend our sacred homeland."
The Pakistani military scrambled F-16 fighters and sent forces to bin Laden's compound as soon as they were aware of the raid, Gilani said. Even though they were unable to interdict U.S. forces before they were on their way back to Afghanistan, he expressed confidence in their performance.
He said the army will conduct an inquiry into the raid and military officials will brief parliament later in May.
Pakistan is a key but sometimes unpredictable partner with Washington in combatting Islamic militants and has been an ally in the war against Taliban insurgents in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. In return, the U.S. provides the country with billions of dollars in aid.
Gilani said that relationship remained robust.
"Pakistan attaches high importance to its relations with the U.S.," Gilani said. "Our communications at the official and diplomatic levels with the U.S., during this phase, have been good, productive and straight forward."
But new questions about the relationship arose with the publication in Pakistani media of what they said is the name of the top CIA operative in the country - the second such potential outing of a sensitive covert operative in six months.
The Associated Press has learned that the name being reported is incorrect. Still, the publication of any alleged identity of the U.S. spy agency's top official in this country could be pushback from Pakistan's powerful military and Inter-Services Intelligence agency in retaliation for the American raid.
On Friday, the private TV channel ARY broadcast what it said was the current CIA station chief's name. The Nation, a right-wing newspaper, picked up the story Saturday.
ARY's news director, Mazhar Abbas, said the television station's reporter gleaned the name from a source. He defended the broadcast, saying it was "based on fact" and rejected suggestions the name was leaked to the television channel by an official with a motive.
The AP is not publishing the station chief's name because he is undercover and his identity is classified.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of discussing CIA personnel issues, told the AP that there are no plans to remove the station chief from Pakistan.
A spokesman for Pakistani intelligence declined to comment.
Asad Munir, a former intelligence chief with responsibility for Pakistan's militant-populated tribal areas, said very few people know the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad. But he said that releasing it would not necessarily jeopardize the American's safety.
"Normally people in intelligence have cover names," Munir said. "Only if there is a photograph to identify him could it put his life in danger."
In December, the CIA pulled its then-station chief out of Pakistan after a name alleged to be his surfaced in public and his safety was deemed at risk. That name hit the local presses after it was mentioned by a lawyer who planned a lawsuit on behalf of victims of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal belt.
Suspicions have lingered that that outing was orchestrated by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency to avenge an American lawsuit that named its chief over the 2008 terror attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai. The Pakistani agency denied leaking the CIA operative's name.Answer Question
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