The Other McCain

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Rep. Allen West: End Aid to Pakistan

Posted on | May 3, 2011 | 14 Comments

Congress should cut off foreign aid to Pakistan “unless we get a clear explanation” of whether the Pakistani government “was harboring Osama bin Laden,” Rep. Allen West (R-Florida) said in a letter sent Tuesday to the chairwoman of the House subcommittee that oversees foreign aid programs.

Click here to see a PDF of Rep. West’s letter to Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.

In the letter, West said that, “like many Americans,” he had believed bin Laden was hiding in northwest Pakistan’s tribal regions, where it would have been “very difficult to locate any individual, especially the most wanted terrorist in the world.”

“However, we now learn that Osama bin Laden was living in a million-dollar compound which was custom-built in 2005 in Abbotabad . . . The heavily fortified compound . . . is only a few hundred yards from the Pakistan Military Academy,” West wrote in the lettter to Granger. “It is not unreasonable for the American people to question if Osama bin Laden was located on government-controlled land, next to a military academy, and so close to the nation’s capital. What real assistance was the Pakistan Government providing for the last 10 years to locate the al-Qaeda leader and bring him to justice?”

West wrote: “I think it is quite clear that unless we get a clear explanation of what the Government of Pakistan knew abojut the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, all foreign aid from American taxpayers to this nation needs to cease. We need to understand whether the Government of Pakistan was harboring Osama bin Laden all these years.”

West, a retired Army lieutenant-colonel, served in Iraq with the 4th Infantry Division. He was elected to Congress in Florida’s 22nd District last year with strong support from the Tea Party movement, and is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

UPDATE: West’s suspicions about the Pakistani government’s relationship with bin Laden would appear justified by comments from CIA Director Leon Panetta. In an interview with Time magazine, Panetta said that U.S. officials ruled out informing Islamabad of their plans to get the al-Qaeda leader because “it was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardize the mission. They might alert the targets.”

UPDATE II: Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) today announced plans to introduce the Pakistan Foreign Aid Accountability Act, which “would require the State Department to certify to Congress that Pakistan wasn’t giving a sanctuary to the former world’s most wanted terrorist,” the Houston Chronicle reports:

Poe noted that Congress has already appropriated $3 billion to Pakistan for the year, and said unless the State Department can show that the country wasn’t harboring bin Laden, it should not receive “one more cent of American aid.”
“This is exactly why we need to reevaluate the foreign aid that we send to countries that do not have America’s best interest in mind,” he said.

UPDATE III: Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic has been catching heat for his defense of the U.S. alliance with Pakistan.

UPDATE IV: PJTV interviews Rep. West (click image to watch):

(Hat-tip: Instapundit.)


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