by Steven F. Hayward

There’s lots of speculation under way about how the Pakistanis must have known bin Laden was in their midst; see especially this article from Amir Taheri in today’s NY Post. A number of specific questions come to mind that our investigators — and reporters — should be asking:

— Since the Abbottabad compound was built in 2005, where was bin Laden hiding out from 2001 to 2005? One imagines it was possibly right down the street, or in some nearby town. Could this have been done without Pakistani knowledge or complicity at some level? Possibly, but someone had to know about it. Hopefully we can retrace bin Laden’s movements for those missing years from the things found at his house, or from Pakistani sources. This also raises the question about what other safe-houses may exist in Pakistan or elsewhere. If we’re not putting a ton of heat on the Paks, Congress should do some slow-roasting of its own on administration officials.

— How were the funds secured, laundered, and transmitted to pay for the building of Osama’s Abbottabad compound? Cash? Electronic transfer? Money order? Gold bars? Visa card? Drug bartering? Which banks, if any, were involved in the transactions? One imagines that bin Laden had access to assets not frozen or tracked. One imagines our CIA has been combing for this since before 9/11; now we may get some additional detail. And who was the building contractor? The answers to these questions may tell us a lot.

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