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Posted May 9, 2011, 6:09 am
In his first extended interview on the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden last week, President Obama said on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday that Pakistan must investigate the support network in the country that enabled the Al Qaeda leader to live in a compound in Pakistan for years.
He said Pakistan must find out if its officials knew of bin Laden's whereabouts and what type of support the wanted terrorist had that enabled him to remain in his hideout.
"We don't know who or what that support network was. We don't know whether there might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government," Obama said on the show, which aired Sunday night. He said the United States wanted to investigate further, "and more importantly, the Pakistani government has to investigate."
Pakistan has denied knowing that the Al Qaeda leader was living in Abbottabad.
In a separate interview, Obama's national security adviser insisted that Pakistan let the United States interview bin Laden's three widows, who were thought to have been living in the compound with him and are now in Pakistani custody.
By referring to the masses of documents the U.S. Navy SEALs uncovered during the raid on bin Laden's compound, the adviser, Thomas Donilon, seemed to be hinting to Pakistani officials that the United States now has evidence on who in the government, intelligence or military could have been helping bin Laden, the New York Times reports.
An American official told the Times after Donilon's appearance on CNN that the United States thinks the wives know who was keeping bin Laden alive for so many years.
During the "60 Minutes" interview, Obama said the helicopter raid on the Abbottabad compound "was the longest 40 minutes of my life," possibly with the exception of when his daughter had meningitis as an infant.
Obama watched the raid with his top aides from the White House Situation Room.
Obama also said that there was no question in his mind that bin Laden deserved to be killed. He said that anyone who thinks otherwise, "needs to have their head examined."
The decision to kill bin Laden, rather than capture him alive, has been questioned in the past week, especially after information surfaced that bin Laden was not armed and the raid did not involve a heavy fire fight as had been initially described.