US leverage on Pakistan to get Osama, says Clinton
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WASHINGTON: The United States continues to believe that somebody in the Pakistani government knows where Osama bin Laden is and is using its ‘leverage’ on Pakistan to get him, says US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In an interview to Fox News, broadcast on Tuesday, Secretary Clinton also insisted that it was in the US interests to continue to provide financial assistance to Pakistan because not doing so would be dangerous for all.
Also on Tuesday, the US State Department released a transcript of her briefing to the journalists travelling with her, which quoted her as saying that during her second trip to Pakistan she “could feel a change” in Pakistani public opinion toward the United States.
But she said she did not want to overstate her perception that anti-American feelings in Pakistan had decreased.
Secretary Clinton pointed out that there’s a new spirit of honesty between the two countries which encouraged her to tell Pakistanis that they should also realise that US economic problems and unemployment had led many Americans to ask “why we are sending money to a country that does not want it.”
“Can’t we leverage our money or anything to get that information (about Osama bin Laden)? He’s 6’5, not easy to hide,” asked the Fox News interviewer.
“We are leveraging it,” said Mrs Clinton, adding that she was not yet willing to “put a proximity or timeline” on when could the US catch people like Osama bin Laden and his deputies.
“As I’ve said, we have gotten closer because we have been able to kill a number of their trainers, their operational people, their financiers. We’ve been able to do that, so in that sense we’ve gotten closer. But I won’t be satisfied until we get it done,” she said.
The secretary noted that she had said before and still believed that “elements in the Pakistani government” knew where Osama was. “Having been a senator from New York on 9/11, I want those guys. I will not be satisfied until we get them,” she added.
Asked why she believed some elements in the Pakistani government knew where Osama was, Mrs Clinton said: “If I put myself into a position of leadership in our own government, and if there were a terrorist network operating somewhere, even in the most remote place in the United States, some sheriff, some local state policeman, somebody in our collective government would probably know that there was something suspicious going on.”
“So that’s why I assume somebody, somebody in this government, from top to bottom, does know where Bin Laden is. And I’d like to know too.”