Patterico's Pontifications

12/31/2007

Bhutto did not Implement US Security Recommendations

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 3:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The US government provided intelligence information and security advice to Benazir Bhutto and her staff but she failed to act on it:

The United States provided a steady stream of intelligence to Benazir Bhutto about threats against her before the former Pakistani prime minister was assassinated and advised her aides on how to boost security, although key suggestions appear to have gone unheeded, U.S. officials said Monday.

Senior U.S. diplomats had multiple conversations, including at least two private face-to-face meetings, with top members of Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party to discuss threats on her life and review her security arrangements after a suicide bombing marred her initial return to Pakistan from exile in October, the officials told The Associated Press. The intelligence was also shared with the Pakistani government, the officials said.

Much of what was passed on dealt with general threats from Taliban extremists and al-Qaida sympathizers and “was not actionable information.”

The officials said Bhutto and her aides were concerned, particularly after the October attack, but were adamant that in the absence of a specific and credible threat there would be few, if any, changes to her campaign schedule ahead of parliamentary elections.

“She knew people were trying to assassinate her,” said an intelligence official. “We don’t hold information back on possible attacks on foreign leaders and foreign countries.” The official added, however, that while the U.S. could share the information, “it’s up to (the recipient) how they want to take action.” “We gave them a steady stream of intelligence,” one official said.

The officials spoke to AP on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter and amid widespread disbelief over the Pakistani government’s assertion that Bhutto died not from bullet or shrapnel wounds but from injuries sustained while hitting her head on her vehicle’s sunroof during Thursday’s attack by a suicide bomber and gunman.”

The claims by the Pakistan government about the nature of Bhutto’s injuries and cause of death look particularly feeble and point out the need for other nations to participate in the investigation. That may be why, as reported in the linked article, the US has also quietly joined calls for international cooperation in investigating Bhutto’s assassination. There are indications that Britain’s Scotland Yard will assist and any US role will be limited.

It was also reported that Bhutto considered hiring private British or US security but the US government discouraged that because the involvement of Western interests might “increase the threat and become a target itself.” Instead, the US recommended Bhutto hire private Pakistani security and reduce her visibility in large crowds:

“However, there was no indication that Bhutto’s team—including her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, who attended at least one of the meetings—had followed through on the most critical of the recommendations, including the hiring of private guards and reducing her visibility in large crowds like the one in Rawalpindi where she was killed.

The officials said Zardari rejected using private Pakistani security companies due to fears they might be infiltrated by extremists even though several of the recommended companies have international components and are used by Western embassies to protect personnel.”

Apparently Bhutto, her family, or the PPP had been in contact with the US company Blackwater about its services:

“Anne Tyrell, a spokeswoman for the private U.S. security company Blackwater Worldwide, known for its operations in Iraq, said her company had been approached about possibly providing protection for Bhutto, “but unfortunately, an agreement was never reached.”

While Bhutto’s staff did take some steps to improve the safety of the party’s vehicles, the officials expressed surprise that the car in which she was riding when attacked had a sunroof and stressed that they would have strongly advised her against popping her head out of it in the presence of large numbers of people.”

Hindsight is 20/20 but I’m surprised the PPP and Bhutto didn’t hire private security, especially after the October bombing.

— DRJ

11 Responses to “Bhutto did not Implement US Security Recommendations”

  1. The officials said Bhutto and her aides were concerned, particularly after the October attack, but were adamant that in the absence of a specific and credible threat there would be few, if any, changes. . .

    Who were her aides, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid?

    JVW (13af87)

  2. Well, this is looking very much as an affirmation of Darwin’s Law.
    Or, “…my Mama says, ‘Stupid is, as stupid does.'”

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  3. I would have to look back for it , but I have also seen that permission was denied for BlackWater to operate within the country.

    I am still open to being convinced of the death cause but even the latest videos and stills of the alleged shooter to me is missing one big thing.

    From the appearance of the weapon , which is consistent with the earlier shot of a weapon found on the ground, it appeared to be a larger caliber like possibly a 45 cal style weapon, not some low power 9mm or such.

    If that was the case it would seem that if a kill shot was made there would have been blood spray and and apparent exit wound in the direction of the shot.

    If anyone has ever in their life (besides the JFK films) see up close and personal the actual results of a 45 hit, it isn’t like the movies where they clutch their chest and slide down the wall. Simple head jerking or sudden movement could be just reaction to the shot not impact related.

    daytrader (ea6549)

  4. Well what is coming out now from others examining a still photo is they have a better picture and believe it may be a 9mm Steyner.

    No official statement as to type of weapon. If it was a 9mm it would not cause the massive hit effects, but to me it is senseless to take a small caliber weapon like that to a hit you are planning since you may not be able to get off multiple shots to assure the kill.

    If I were doing it you can bet there would be something with some hitting power to it.

    daytrader (ea6549)

  5. Pakistan – the End of the Hope and the Return of the Darkness

    Benazir Bhutto was hope in the face of peaceful change in Pakistan, of General Pervez Musharaf.

    For Islamic radicals there is no room for democracy, mercy, or the mid-term and once again was thus a suicide bomb ended the life of Bhutto (for 54 years) and those that accompanied by launching the country into confusion .

    Dum side is the military dictator and the other, the roots of Al Qaeda.
    The choice is difficult…
    Is the killer bomb has gone to paradise?
    Will there be 70 virgins waiting for you?
    In XXI century full cost me to believe that people are going well educated, the meeting of death.

    For bin Laden, the control of Pakistan becomes essential, more than the control of Afghanistan. Managing Pakistan, Al Qaeda will be with the control of a major armies of the world and lay the hands on nuclear weapons, then yes, the Game-level rise.

    USA becomes loser the game…

    Pakistan, Afganistão, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Indonesia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, are many faces of the same coin.

    Some talk on clash of civilizations, one thousand years later, the varnish burn, between the north and south, between the West and the East, between Islam and the rest of the world and there is a global terrorism, which dreams with a worldwide caliphate and with its capital in London.

    We never forgot the Islamic Al-Andalusian and the Al-garbe (Spain and Portugal), because for them, these lands (our lands) are lands of Islam.

    Are you Remember Atocha, Madrid, Spain?

    Text – Mario Nunes

    See more in http://kafekultura.blogspot.com

    Mario Nunes (f5c704)

  6. Daytrader, when I looked at the photo of the pistol it looked like a S&W Sigma or S&W MP to me.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  7. > “Anne Tyrell, a spokeswoman for the private U.S. security company Blackwater Worldwide, known for its operations in Iraq, said her company had been approached about possibly providing protection for Bhutto, “but unfortunately, an agreement was never reached.”

    Huh? But isn’t Blackwater the organization of Cowboys who fire randomly in all directions on a regular basis in Baghdad?

    Arthur (c7d4d9)

  8. Arrrgh. stupid formatting codes. There was supposed to be a little (sarcasm) note at the end of my previous note.

    Arthur (c7d4d9)

  9. Oh, sure. Blame the victim.

    Shouldn’t be gallows-humoring about this, I suppose, but why the hell do public people never take security advice. You get enough death threats, you gotta figure that not everybody loves you. Is it narcissism or hubris?

    Uncle Pinky (c3d832)

  10. I think it’s like the US 6 years after 9/11. The longer you go without anything happening, the more you think it can’t happen.

    DRJ (09f144)

  11. BTW, S&W M&P’s do come in 45acp!

    Another Drew (8018ee)


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