WASHINGTON — A Pakistani traffic cop had Osama bin Laden all but cuffed months after 9/11, but sent the world’s most wanted man on his way and back into the shadows.
The too-hackneyed-for-Hollywood scenario was shared to Pakistani authorities by a bin Laden bodyguard’s wife, and revealed in that government’s official report on the case, obtained exclusively by Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera.
A wife of Al Qaeda bodyguard and courier Ibrahim al-Kuwaiti, named Maryam told investigators that she did not know the identity of the tall man she and her husband lived with in 2002 and 2003 in the country’s Swat Valley.
The “clean-shaven Arab” did not mingle with subordinates’ families, she claimed.
During their time in Swat, al-Kuwaiti drove a group including his wife and bin Laden to a local bazaar and was pulled over for speeding.
The bodyguard, however “quickly settled the matter” and the cop sent the group on its way, the woman told investigators.
The report does not indicate what transpired between the cop and the bin Laden aide.
The investigative commission found that bin Laden lived in six places in Pakistan between December 2001, when he evaded the U.S. military at Tora Bora, Afghanistan, and his death nearly a decade later.
Bin Laden spent the final years of his life in a walled compound in the Pakistani Army garrison town of Abbottabad, which U.S. Navy SEALs raided on May 2, 2011, killing him in his residence.
The Associated Press reported Monday that the man who oversaw the raid, Navy Adm. William McRaven, moved documents about the operation from the Pentagon and into the CIA’s possession citing a draft report by the Pentagon’s inspector general.
McRaven moved the documents to protect the identities of those involved in the raid, according to the report, but the CIA denied the move was made to skirt federal freedom of information law.
Press leaks that followed the raid, and the Obama Administration’s cooperation with an Oscar-winning film about the raid, “Zero Dark Thirty,” spawned a pair of IG investigations pushed by Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.)
The Pakistani commission laid blame for bin Laden’s life on the lam with the Pakistani government, but also labeled the U.S. raid that killed him an “act of war,” according to the report.