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Senator: Pakistanis hoodwinked us on bin Laden

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.

In a radio interview today, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said that despite the Pakistan government’s claimed ignorance of Osama bin Laden’s former hideout not far from its capital city, there is “no doubt” the Pakistanis are lying.

“The obvious question with an obvious answer is, did the top officials know that he was there?” Inhofe asked. “I have no doubt in my mind that the Paks knew that Osama bin Laden was in that compound.”

Inhofe, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was speaking to the host of “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio.

“I cannot see it to be a possibility that he could be there for a period of time – you know, one year, leave alone five years – and that they wouldn’t know he was there,” Inhofe said. “As far as whether the Paks offered that refuge to him, I have no way of knowing that. I just know that they had to know that he was there.”

Audio of the full interview can be heard below:

In a hearing held earlier this month, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., posed the question his committee co-member now says is “obvious”:

“Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, a garrison city not far from Islamabad, perhaps 35 miles as the crow flies, raises serious questions for all of us,” Kerry said. “What did Pakistani’s military and intelligence services know, and when did they know it? Who did they think was living behind those 15-foot walls?”

American forces reportedly entered the compound in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011, and killed and extracted bin Laden.

Kerry later asserted it is “extraordinarily hard to believe” bin Laden could have survived in Pakistan for so long without the government’s knowledge, but has recently met with the nation’s top leaders in an effort to rebuild strained U.S./Pakistan relations.

In his interview today, Inhofe confirmed he is among the few people who have been permitted by the Obama administration to view photos of bin Laden’s body and burial at sea.

Inhofe advocates that some of the photos – those less graphic – be made viewable to the public at large.

“If they showed the ones after he was cleaned up, or being cleaned up,” the senator told Klein, “No. 1, it’s easier to identify because there are more facial features that are exposed, and No. 2, it’s not as graphic. … So I think that would be something that would be appropriate.”

Inhofe also spoke of the key role the prison at Guantanamo Bay has played in national security and the consequences of Obama’s refusal to house terror suspects there.

“What are the alternatives if we would allow [Obama] to close it?” Inhofe posited. “President Obama has not allowed any new combatant to come into Gitmo since he has been president. … He caused the release of some 600 of the combatants. Now, they have gone back, and we have some pretty good intelligence that out of that 600, about 150 are back in the battle again trying to kill Americans.”