`High-level` Pak officials knew of Osama`s hideout: US Senator

Osama bin Laden was killed on Sunday night in Abottabad in a top secret operation.

Washington: The US Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, Senator Carl Levin, has said he believes that senior Pakistani officials knew that al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden was hiding in a luxury compound in Abbottabad.

The Saudi-born terrorist, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed Sunday night in a top secret operation involving a small team of US Special Forces in Abbottabad city, located 50 kilometres northeast of Islamabad and 150 kilometres east of Peshawar.

"At high levels, high levels being the intelligence service ... they knew it," Levin said in an interview with ABC News.

Levin is the highest-ranking US elected official to accuse the Pakistan government of knowing bin Laden`s whereabouts.

"I can`t prove it," Levin said. "I can`t imagine how someone higher up didn`t know it."

"The thing that astounds me more than anything else is the idea that people in Pakistan higher up in the intelligence service or their police or their local officials didn`t know he was there. I find that difficult to believe," he added.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, Levin said, has already started a preliminary investigation into Pakistan`s involvement and, depending on the results of that investigation, will decide whether to hold public hearings to investigate further I this regard.

"We need these questions answered about whether or not the top level of the Pakistan government knew or was told by the ISI, their intelligence service, about anything, about this suspicious activity for five years in a very, very centralised place," said Levin.


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