Germany’s foreign intelligence agency helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, before the al Qaeda leader was killed by US special forces in May 2011, according to a media report on Sunday.
Germany’s BND spy agency informed the CIA that bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan with the knowledge of Pakistani security authorities, German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle said citing a Bild am Sonntag report.
The report said that German spy agency received the information from an informant within Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. This knowledge is said to have confirmed CIA suspicions.
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The BND provided help before the operation that killed bin Laden, using its base in the Bavarian town of Bad Aibling to monitor telephone and email traffic in northern Pakistan, it said.
Pakistan has denied that it had any knowledge about bin Laden hiding within its territory. It has also denied that it received any information about the US special forces’ operation that killed bin Laden in May 2011 in the garrison city of Abbottabad, the West Point of Pakistan.
The German newspaper said that ultimately the US tracked down bin Laden by shadowing one of his couriers. The US has also maintained that position.
The report comes as the BND battles heavy criticism in a spy scandal that it helped America’s National Security Agency (NSA) spy on European targets, including Europe’s Airbus Group, the French presidency and the European Commission. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been attacked by opposition over the claims.
The opposition says the government did nothing to stop BND’s alleged actions.