Pakistani Doctor Gets Tortured for Finding Bin Laden
Barry Nussbaum: Hello and welcome to the ATP report. I'm Barry Nussbaum. So we're back today with Clare Lopez, formerly of the CIA and now the Center for Security Policy, where she is the vice president of research. Clare, thanks for coming back.
Clare Lopez: Thank you, Barry. Thanks for having me.
Barry Nussbaum: We're going to talk today about the Pakistani doctor who became an American hero for advising American intelligence where to find bin Laden in Pakistan when he was hiding in plain sight, I guess you would call it, in Islamabad. Tell me the story of how he discovered bin Laden, who he told about it, and what happened to him as a result, please.
Clare Lopez: So this Pakistani medical doctor, whose name is Shakil Afridi, was recruited by the CIA when for some reason they were hunting bin Laden in all the wrong places. And they recruited him because he was able to mount a vaccination program in areas where they were searching that could provide cover for the searching. Well, he Dr. Afridi and his working colleagues found the house in Abbottabad where Osama bin Laden and family had moved from Iran sometime during 2010. And, of course, as we all know, he was finally dispatched to his 72 virgins in May of 2011 by American special operations forces. But this was the hunt for him. And Dr. Afridi, under cover of using this vaccination program, had some freedom of movement to be able to move in these various areas and apparently located that house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which, by the way, was down the street from the Pakistani military academy, akin, something like our West Point.
Barry Nussbaum: So he's hiding in plain sight. Obviously, the Pakistanis knew where he was. They kept it a secret, and we found him through basically an American supporter, this doctor in Pakistan. What happened to him after the word came out as to how we American intelligence and then the military located bin Laden? What happened to the doctor?
Clare Lopez: Well, I mean, first of all, to give him credit, what a courageous man he was to undertake a mission like this. He had to know how dangerous that was. But he did it anyway, and he succeeded at it. Well, once the word was leaked that he and his vaccination program were involved in the location, the finding of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, he was arrested by the Pakistani government. He has been held in prison, tortured to this day, even though the United States from time to time has made requests and overtures to try to get him released. He remains in prison in Pakistan.
Barry Nussbaum: So tell me, 9/11 was the worst terror attack in American history. We found the guy that did it. The SEAL team took him out. We would not have found him, but for the efforts of this very brave doctor. Why in the world has America, both under the Obama administration and the Trump administration, left him in prison when we have tremendous leverage over Pakistan in the form of massive amounts of U.S. aid?
Clare Lopez: Well, we have to look at this on the flip side. There are currently something like fourteen thousand American troops still in Afghanistan, something around thirty-seven thousand contractors, and others from NGOs. Their supplies, everything they need to survive, mostly, I should say, comes by truck overland through Pakistan. These supplies and etc. are shipped to the port of Karachi, offloaded onto truck convoys that then travel up the entire I don't know what you call it, the length, the width of Pakistan up to Afghanistan where they're delivered to our people, right? That means our people in Afghanistan are in many ways literally hostages to the jihadist regime in Islamabad. So this works both ways, and those convoys of trucks that ply the roadways up from Karachi north to Afghanistan have been attacked by proxy, Islamic terror groups on more than one occasion. Let's remember the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI is the, what would you call, the godfather of the Taliban. They created the Taliban. They're also the sponsor, the backer, the supporter, armorer, trainer of other Deobandi Islamic terror groups Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Taiba and others. This is a jihad regime in Islamabad. Yes, they provided a certain amount of support, certainly during the 1980s when we all were fighting to get the Red Army out of Afghanistan, yes. But in the end, we are infidel invaders in Muslim lands, and that's how they look at us. And they look at Dr. Afridi as a traitor. That's what they call him, a traitor.
Barry Nussbaum: And I'm still nevertheless shocked that America is dumping billions into Pakistan. And what we get out of that is a corridor for our truck convoys to get into Afghanistan through Karachi, and at the same time, there is a terrorist regime in place actively supporting terror around the world and openly persecuting the guy that helped us catch the worst terrorist in American history. And we don't do anything about it because it's my belief that if the president of the United States, whether it was Obama or Trump, wanted the doctor out, he would be out if it was that important to us.
Clare Lopez: Well, two things I'll note first of all. We're using here among us Barry, the word terrorism. Okay, within Islam, the word terror means the taking of a Muslim life without right, and it is based on certain Quranic verses, five thirty-two and five thirty-three. That's not what we mean when we say terror, terrorism, right? What they call jihad, which is warfare against non-Muslims, is what we tend to call terrorism. We have to understand that we're using different words here with different understandings of the meanings. Now, the second thing I would say is that I think certainly President Trump has made efforts to get Dr. Afridi released. For example, the Pakistani prime minister, Imran Khan, visited the United States just a couple of months ago. That would be July 2019. And I know that during talks between the president and Prime Minister Khan that this topic was raised. I think that there is some discussion going on of a prisoner swap. The United States holds in custody Aafia Siddiqu., Aafia Siddiqui people might remember, was a jihadist Pakistani woman who in the attempt to take her into custody by U.S. troops, she seized a weapon and tried to kill them unsuccessfully, thankfully. She remains in U.S. custody. I know that President Trump did raise this possibility perhaps of a prisoner swap. That's somebody the Pakistanis want very badly, this Aafia Siddiqui. So I don't think that efforts are nonexistent. They haven't, you know, resulted yet in the release of Dr. Afridi, but we know that President Trump is trying. That's on his agenda.
Barry Nussbaum: Well, we have a little bit of luck, God willing, we get this hero out of Pakistan, and we can declare at least that we finally stood up for a man that is an American hero and should be rewarded with the full involvement of everyone in the U.S. government. Clare, we're going to leave it here. Thanks for joining us today. Remember, text 88202 the word TRUTH, and you'll be on our mailing list or FindBarry.com, which will take you to our website where you can sign up. Always free. Always in your mailbox every day. I encourage you to participate. Thanks again for joining us today on ATP Report. I'm Barry Nussbaum.