Sen. Jim Inhofe, a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, tells Newsmax there is “no doubt in my mind” that Pakistani officials knew the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden in their country.
The Oklahoma Republican also calls on the Obama administration to expand the use of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to house terrorist suspects now held in foreign jails.
And he calls the rationale for the decision not to release photographs of bin Laden’s corpse “garbage.”
Sen. Inhofe attended several classified briefings following the successful raid on bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, he was asked if there was collusion between Pakistan and bin Laden to keep his presence there secret.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Pakistan and their officials knew that he was there,” Inhofe says.
“You can’t tell me he could be there for five years, have 13 of his kids, three of his wives, brothers and sisters, and not have people aware of it in this community. So I have no doubt in my mind that they knew it.
“I don’t know if they’re going to take the position that only a handful of people knew, but I think everyone knew. I think the common logic would dictate that.”
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But Inhofe insists that any change in American policy toward Pakistan should be determined by our military and intelligence communities, not by “headline-grabbing” politicians in Washington.
On the Obama administration’s declaration that photographs of bin Laden’s corpse won’t be released, Inhofe declares: “I think that’s wrong. The justification they’re using for not releasing the photographs is that they’re kind of grotesque and that might precipitate retaliatory actions. That’s garbage, because these guys are terrorists. They want to kill every American.
“I can tell you now, over the past 10 years more than 20 times we have stopped well planned efforts by terrorists to do a lot of damage to the United States. My point is they want to kill us anyway, and it won’t make any difference if we show them the photos.”
Asked if bin Laden was captured and then killed or killed outright, Inhofe responds: “I think he was killed outright. My feeling is, after sitting through the briefings, they went in, they shot him right through the eye. It was done quickly.
“I could criticize the administration for one thing. They came out on the night they announced this and they made all these statements we later found out were not true.
“For example, Osama bin Laden had three wives there. One of them was coming up to the SEALs and they said they shot her and killed her. Then later on they said no, she wasn’t killed. They shot her through the leg. They said first that Osama bin Laden was armed, then they came out two days later and said he wasn’t armed.
“I think they should have gotten their act together in the first place so they wouldn’t have to start retreating on all these things.”
Inhofe says the killing of bin Laden, facilitated by information gleaned from detainees at Guantanamo Bay, lends weight to calls for expanding the use of Gitmo.
“I was the point man to stop Obama from closing Gitmo for three years now. He was demanding that Gitmo be closed and demanding that the CIA not be making these interrogations, and yet that’s the reason we were able to get Osama bin Laden,” he tells Newsmax.
“I’m hoping that we will be able to expand the activity at Gitmo now that even the president understands we should keep it open.
“The problem we have right now is that when the president said he was going to close Gitmo, we wouldn’t let him do it, so by presidential order he said we’re not going to send any more of the terrorists to Gitmo. So we haven’t had a terrorist getting into Gitmo for a long period of time.
“We’ve got the resources down there, the capability for incarceration. We have the huge facility there to conduct military tribunals.
“Since the president won’t let us send people to Gitmo, we’ve had to put terrorists that we catch in a prison in whatever country we catch them. That could be Yemen, it could be Iraq, Afghanistan.
“Just recently several of them dug out from a prison in Afghanistan. All of them were turned loose and they’re back trying to kill Americans again.
“We need to have the opportunity to send all of our people back to Gitmo like we originally did. Certainly this should be a shock treatment for the president, to demonstrate to him that we need to expand Gitmo.”
Inhofe adds that the killing of bin Laden should not change the U.S. mission in Afghanistan or justify an early withdrawal of American troops. Other high ranking al-Qaida officials may “try to exert their leadership to show it really wasn’t Osama bin Laden all the time, it was them,” and increase efforts to launch terrorist attacks, Inhofe warns.
“We’ve got to bring the terrorist group down, not just one individual.”
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