Opinion: Americans question 3 Osama bin Laden widows, but they are reported openly hostile for some reason


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A surprising bit of news out of Pakistan this morning:

After repeated pleas to Pakistani counterparts, American intelligence officials were given access to three of Osama bin Laden’s widows.

That’s potentially helpful presumably. But that’s not the surprising part. The surprising part is that these three new widows were openly hostile to interrogators representing the government that had made hunting down their husband a top military and political priority for almost a decade since the 9/11 attacks.


The trio of females with a range of assorted children were living together in the million-dollar Bin Laden housing compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Early in the morning of May 2 four helicopters appeared over their house. One crashed into the compound. Several dozen heavily armed men burst into the buildings, participated in a firefight, shot three men dead including a son and their husband, wounded one of the wives in the leg and removed considerable property, including their dead terrorist spouse’s body.

Why would anyone be hostile after such a successful raid in which no Americans were reported injured?

CNN is reporting that American intelligence officers were finally permitted to question the three women Thursday. But only in the presence of Pakistani intelligence officials and only with the three women together.

Standard interrogation procedures would involve questioning the women separately to acquire, compare and contrast details of their stories and play them off against each other. The presence of Pakistani intelligence operatives would likely inhibit the spilling of any details on how they might have been protecting the world’s most wanted man living near the country’s main military academy.

Bin Laden actually had at least 20 children with his five wives, but he was separated from two of the spouses. One of Bin Laden’s sons was killed in the SEAL raid. Bin Laden himself came from an extended family of 53 siblings from 23 women married to his father.


The Americans apparently hope to renew their questioning at another time.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Pho0to: AFP / Getty Images (The Bin Laden housing compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan).