- Dr Shakil Afridi led Navy SEALS to bin Laden by setting up fake vaccination programme that allowed him to take DNA samples from terrorist’s children
- Western officials say sentencing in Islamabad is punishment for humiliating Pakistan, who claims to not know Al Qaeda boss was living in Abottabad
- Rep. Peter King says that Obama administration identified the doctor to Pakistani government officials, prompting his 33-year treason sentence
A leading Republican blamed President Obama and his administration for ‘outing’ the Pakistani doctor who helped locate Osama bin Laden and who has now been sent to prison for 33 years.
Representative Peter King, the New York congressman who leads the House Homeland Security Committee, pointed to White House administrators for identifying Dr. Shakil Afridi to Pakistani authorities.
‘They put him out there,’ Mr King said in light of the doctor’s prison sentence for treason by the Pakistani government.
Treason: Dr Shakeel Afridi, pictured left, was jailed for 33 year in Islamabad for helping the U.S. find Osama bin Laden by setting up a vaccination programme that led him collect DNA from the Al Qaeda leader’s children
‘This has been handled very poorly right from the time of the raid,’ Mr King told Fox News.
‘They disclosed his identity.’
The sentence is viewed by Western officials as punishment for humiliating the nation which claimed not to know it was harbouring the Al Qaeda leader.
Dr Shakil Afridi helped the CIA by running a fake vaccination programme that allowed him to collect the DNA of Bin Laden’s children from the family compound in Abbottabad.
Sample analysis confirmed the terror leader was probably there and triggered the deadly mission by US Navy SEALS last May.
It sparked a major rift between the US and Pakistani leaders who were embarrassed that Bin Laden had been living in a major military hub close to the capital.
A furious Pakistan felt the covert operation was a violation of its sovereignty and implied the US was unable to trust its key partner in the war on terror.
American officials have already started rallying on the doctor’s behalf, urging the Pakistani government to overturn the sentence which is said to include hard labor and extensive fines.
‘What Dr. Afridi did is the furthest thing from treason. It was a courageous, heroic and patriotic act, which helped to locate the most wanted terrorist in the world,’ Senators John McCain and Carl Levin wrote in a joint statement.
The Republican Mr McCain and Democratic Mr Levin both serve on the chamber’s Committee of Armed Services.
It is not clear if Dr Afridi knew who the target of the investigation was when the CIA recruited him, or what DNA he actually collected in the fake hepatitis B vaccination programme. Dr Afridi was accused of having taken half a dozen cooler boxes without authorisation.
Shortly after the raid which killed Bin Laden, Dr Afridi was arrested for conspiring against the state of Pakistan, his house was sealed and all assets frozen.