Panetta concerned about doctor who helped in bin Laden raid
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is acknowledging publicly the key role a Pakistani doctor who assisted the United States ahead of the strike on Osama bin Laden’s compound last May that killed the terrorism mastermind.
The doctor who provided key information ought to be released, Panetta told CBS’s “60 Minutes” in a segment set to air Sunday.
“I’m very concerned about what the Pakistanis did with this individual,” Panetta told CBS. “This was an individual who in fact helped provide intelligence that was very helpful with regards to this operation. And he was not in any way treasonous towards Pakistan.”
Dr. Shakeel Afridi helped the CIA use a vaccination campaign to collect DNA samples from residents of bin Laden’s to verify the terror leader’s presence there.
Pakistan, which expressed its anger over the raid without consulting Pakistani authorities, has charged Afridi with treason.
“Pakistan and the United States have a common cause here against terrorism, have a common cause against al Qaeda,” Panetta said. “And for them to take this kind of action against somebody who was helping to go after terrorism, I just think is a real mistake on their part.”
Panetta said Pakistan can discipline Afridi in whatever manner it deems appropriate but the doctor should be released.