US reserves right to act in Pakistan again: WH

0
161

The White House on Wednesday said US President Barack Obama reserved the right to act against top terror suspects inside Pakistan in the future as well following the recent raid which killed Osama bin Laden. Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney was asked whether the president would be prepared to target fugitives again if they were on Pakistani soil, despite Islamabad’s complaints the Osama raid was unauthorised and unilateral.
“Yes,” he replied. “(Obama) feels it was the right approach and he continues to feel that.” Earlier, US President Barack Obama said he had decided not to release a photograph showing the body of Osama bin Laden for fear it will become a propaganda tool. “That is not who we are. We don’t trot this stuff out as trophies,” Obama said in an interview with CBS, adding it was important to keep photographic evidence from “floating around as incitement or propaganda tool.”
“There is no doubt that Osama is dead. Certainly there is… no doubt among Al Qaeda members that he is dead. And so we don’t think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference. “The fact of the matter is, you will not see Osama walking on this earth again,” Obama said, according to an excerpt of the interview read to reporters by White House spokesman Jay Carney. Obama had consulted members of his national security team about whether to release the photo which he has seen, before taking his decision.
“It is not in our national security interests to allow those images, as has been in the past been the case, to become icons to rally opinion against the United States,” Carney said. Meanwhile, CIA Director Leon Panetta said whoever took Osama bin Laden’s place to lead Al Qaeda would become America’s new public enemy number one. Osama’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is expected in some circles to take over, but it is not clear how soon that will happen. “He’s moving up very fast on the list,” Panetta told CBS television’s “Evening News with Katie Couric” in referring to Zawahiri.
Moreover, US intelligence officers combing through computers and storage devices found at Osama bin Laden’s compound would likely uncover a “gold mine” of information exposing terror plots, the whereabouts of other Al Qaeda figures and funding sources, former officials said. Also, the US said killing Osama was an act of national self-defence, countering allegations the raid by US commandos on his Pakistani hide-out was illegal.
US Attorney General Eric Holder said Osama was a legitimate military target and he had made no attempt to surrender to the American forces.