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A Perverse Bin Laden Incentive for Pakistan

AP

It's pretty clear that at least some of Pakistan's intelligence operatives were hiding Osama bin Laden from the United States.

There's simply no way that he could have built the compound he lived in so close to Pakistan's military academy without someone in Pakistan's intelligence operation discovering who lived there. If you built yourself a fort right next to West Point, you can be pretty sure that the FBI would do a little checking into your background.

The reason why I think they were sheltering Osama isn't all that mysterious:

We were in effect paying them to do it. That's right, effectively paying billions of dollars to keep our "most wanted man" hidden.

Officially, of course, we were paying Pakistan to help us find him and combat al Qaeda. We even claimed that there would be a reward of tens of millions of dollars for capturing or killing Osama.

But that "reward" was dwarfed by the billions Pakistan was getting for "hunting" Osama. They understood very well that those billions could vanish once the mission was accomplished. So the incentive was to "hunt" Osama in perpetuity, never ending the hunt by actually capturing him.

Did any US policy makers consider the perversity of our relationship with Pakistan? Probably not.

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