Does New Report on Courier's Cell Phone Contacts Prove Pakistan Was Hiding Bin Laden?

More questions raised after Pakistani contacts discovered in phone of Al Qaeda leader's courier


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 24, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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JUAN WILLIAMS, GUEST HOST: In the "Factor Follow-up" segment tonight: A new research poll by Pew suggests that the people of Pakistan are quite sympathetic to Usama bin Laden. Only 10 percent of Pakistanis support the operation that killed bin Laden; 63 percent disapprove. When asked if it's a good or bad thing that bin Laden is dead, 55 percent say – this is unbelievable -- they say it's a bad thing; only 14 percent think it's good.

Also, a new report out today may show a link between bin Laden's personal courier and a radical group with very close ties to Pakistan's version of the CIA. So does this prove that the Pakistani government was in bed with bin Laden?

Joining us from Washington, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a spokesman for the Center for the Advanced Defense Studies, and Dr. Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA's bin Laden unit and author of the book "Osama bin Laden." Michael Scheuer, let me start with you and ask what do you make of the idea that this cell phone that belonged to the courier was also then linked to the Pakistani intelligence agency?

MICHAEL SCHEUER, FORMER HEAD OF CIA'S BIN LADEN UNIT: Well, I think, Juan, it was linked to the Haracot (ph) group, which is in turn linked to ISI. This is not -- I don't think it should be a surprise to anyone. Usama bin Laden worked very closely with the Haracot during the war against the Soviets since then, and so it's a natural enough connection. I'm not very surprised by the fact we have uncovered evidence of that.

WILLIAMS: Well, do you take it as a smoking gun? Does it indicate to you that, in fact, Pakistan not only knew he was there, they were protecting him?

SCHEUER: Well, I don't think we can go that far yet, but it wouldn't surprise me that some parts of the Pakistani government knew he was there and were protecting him, Juan. It was never, since the day of 9/11, in the interest of the Pakistanis to capture, kill or turn over Usama bin Laden to the United States. And certainly any adults in the U.S. government probably should have known that since 9/11.

WILLIAMS: Lt. Col. Shaffer, what is your take on this? Do you see it as a smoking gun in terms of making the case that the Pakistanis not only knew he was there but they were protecting him?

LT. COL. TONY SHAFFER, CENTER FOR ADVANCED DEFENSE STUDIES: Absolutely. In my judgment, based on my own book "Operation Dark Heart" we talk about the tipping point and the fact that I knew and the folks I dealt with, in 2003, knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was collusion and many aspects between the ISI and these radical elements.

Now the problem here, Juan, is that we have been ignoring the fact that the Pakistanis continue to act on their own self-interests, as Michael just pointed out. They are doing what they think is best for their country. We try to do a number of things. We try to cajole them. We try to give them money. But this is the sad truth. They have used these radical networks for their own purposes. This very group has been used in the Kashmiri conflict and they use these groups as a proxy for their ISI and for their own army. This is part of how they do business.

WILLIAMS: Let me ask you this, Col. Shaffer. I'm drawing connections between the dots. If I understand you, you are saying you do take it as a smoking gun...


WILLIAMS: connect bin Laden to the Pakistani intelligence. Now, let me continue with the dots. Can I then draw a line that would connect the Pakistani government somehow to the Taliban and to Al Qaeda?

SHAFFER: I have heard rumors since three days after the raid that we have got a lot more than we are talking about. With that said, I think that the government right now released this today -- our government released this today to put some pressure on the Pakistanis based on the fact that President Obama said in his own speech a couple days ago he is putting pressure on them. I think this is part -- this release today was part of that pressure.

So I think, Juan, frankly there is a lot more we already know; we are just not talking about it. With that said, I think the Pakistanis have been given a number of opportunities -- I don't think they are going to be asked to come clean -- but I think they're going to be asked to start playing a more concerted role in helping us.

Don't forget we've got Mullah Omar still running around out there. We have Dr. Zawahiri, the new leader of Al Qaeda, still hanging around. I think that's going to be what the Obama administration puts the pressure on the Pakistanis to come up with.

WILLIAMS: All right. Now, Michael Scheuer, you were a little bit more hesitant in making these connections but you just heard what I said. Would you connect now the Pakistani government to Al Qaeda and the Taliban in terms of the ongoing difficulty the U.S. has had in dealing with the Pakistanis in terms of just getting out, getting out some kind of aggressive handling of the Al Qaeda and Taliban elements in not only Pakistan but in Afghanistan?

SCHEUER: Certainly the Pakistanis support the Afghan Taliban. They want the Afghan Taliban back in power. We have known that for a decade, Juan. You know, the problem we have here is we're watching something occur that we knew was going to occur and yet we depended -- we put U.S. security at risk by depending on the Pakistanis to do things that we should have done for ourselves.

SHAFFER: Absolutely.

SCHEUER: At the end of the day, this problem is a matter of adulthood. There is nothing that came out today that is a surprise to anyone in the intelligence community, but our presidents -- the last two presidents have subcontracted United States security to General Musharraf first and now the biggest crook in Pakistani history, General Zardari. And to expect anything more from the Pakistanis after the president on Wednesday night basically surrendered, in terms of our future, in Afghanistan I think is a pipe dream.

WILLIAMS: All right. Gentlemen, I want to say thank you. This is an ongoing story, and "The Factor" is going to stick with it because people want to know seriously whether or not we are wasting money in trying to do business with the Pakistanis. Thanks very much, gentlemen.

SHAFFER: Thank you.

SCHEUER: Thank you, sir.

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