“The compound was just a stone’s throw away from the West Point of Pakistan,” complained Representative Ted Poe (R-Tex.), in a common refrain. “It would be like John Dillinger living across the street from the FBI building down the street and the FBI not knowing about it.” Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said the relationship must change, “We know of fertilizer plants that aren’t being used to make fertilizer. They’re being used to kill our soldiers. We know they know that. We know that probably some of our resources are helping build their nuclear arsenal. This gives us an opportunity now to sort of rearrange that relationship.”
CNN reported on 5 May that during a Senate hearing on that day assessing the limits of U.S policy in Pakistan, Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) said that although he is “curious” about whether components of Pakistan’s military or intelligence services were involved in protecting the compound’s infamous resident, the United States should not rush to judgment that might ultimately hurt its national security.
“No matter what we learn about the events that preceded the killing of Osama bin Laden, we still have vital national security interests in this region, and we have worked hard to build a partnership with Pakistan, fragile and difficult and challenged as it may be at times,” Kerry said.
“Distancing ourselves from Pakistan would be unwise and extremely dangerous,” Lugar said, because it would weaken U.S. intelligence capabilities, limit Americas ability to prevent conflict between India and Pakistan, and further complicate military operations in Afghanistan.”
Committee ranking member Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said that recent events have raised questions about Pakistan’s reliability as an ally, but cautioned that it is “a strategically vital country with which we must engage.”
“Distancing ourselves from Pakistan would be unwise and extremely dangerous,” Lugar said, because it would weaken U.S. intelligence capabilities, limit America’s ability to prevent conflict between India and Pakistan, and further complicate military operations in Afghanistan.”
“Pakistan acts very irrational,” committee member Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said. Corker advocates that the United States “rearrange” its relationship with Pakistan to focus on rooting out the remnants of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups inside the country.
In early May, four House republicans—Representatives Ted Poe and John Culverson of Texas and Van Buchanan and Allen West of Florida—introduced a bill that would block any future American financial assistance to Pakistan unless the State Department certifies that Islamabad did not know Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts.
Other lawmakers, such as Representative Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), want to add new restrictions on the military aid package to ensure that Pakistan uses the money and weapons in the fight against militants rather than to further its rivalry with India or its peacekeeping missions. It has also been reported that the Obama administration officials are lobbying lawmakers not to cut the aid money to Pakistan but that they have also indicated that they would be willing to change the composition of the aid package.