Germany’s equivalent to the CIA, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), helped U.S. intelligence services pinpoint the location of Al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, according to a new report published Sunday by Germany’s most circulated newspaper.
The BND had provided U.S. officials that bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan, and that the Pakistanis were well aware of his location, the report published in Germany’s Bild Am Sonntag (BamS) states. The paper explains that the BND had an informant inside of Pakistan’s infamous Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI), who leaked the information over to his German handlers.
An unnamed American source told BamS that the German tip was of “fundamental importance” in tracking down bin Laden, according to a translation provided by TheLocal.De.
Pakistani officials continue to deny that Islamabad had any knowledge of Bin Laden’s whereabouts, but new revelations call into question the narrative offered by the Pakistanis.
Brought to light by a new report by journalist Seymour Hersh, multiple major media outlets have now revealed that a “walk-in” to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad may have tipped off U.S. officials to bin Laden’s exact location.
The German paper, however, claims that U.S. clandestine services found bin Laden through a courier of his.
The report states that the BND intercepted and monitored messages through a listening post, helping to ensure that the operation to kill or capture bin Laden remained a secret until after its execution.
The new report comes amid a controversial time for the BND, as some have alleged that the intel agency is helping the German government spy on domestic political opponents and foreign allies. Last week, the BND reduced cooperation with the NSA after some suggested that the U.S. intelligence agency (which is deeply unpopular in Germany) was sharing massive amounts of data with Berlin.
Germany’s Spiegel Online suggested that the report detailing BND’s “apparent act of heroism” in helping track down bin Laden should be taken with a grain of salt, as it was published “right in the middle of the BND affair.”