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Special forensics team will sweep al-Qaeda leader's compound in search for information
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency was sending a forensics team to Pakistan on Friday to search Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad for additional information, with Pakistan's permission, according to the Wall Street Journal.
It will be the first time since the May 2 U.S. Navy Seal raid that killed bin Laden that the U.S. has been given access to the compound where bin Laden had been living, and coincides with a surprise visit to Islamabad by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The move comes at a time of increasingly strained ties between the U.S. and Pakistan. On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Pakistani government was moving to close three military intelligence liaison centers located in the lawless region of the country bordering Afghanistan. The centers, known as intelligence fusion cells, were important ways for the U.S. to share satellite imagery and other intelligence with Pakistani ground forces conducting operations against militants, particularly along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The three liaison centers, in Quetta and Peshawar, are being closed down and U.S. personnel are being withdrawn. That move came after a request from Pakistan for the U.S. to reduce the number of troops in the country.
Also on Thursday, the New York Times reported that information from documents that were seized during the raid that killed the al Qaeda leader indicates that he was considering making a deal with the Pakistani government for protection. The documents indicated that bin Laden was considering approaching Pakistani officials to request protection in exchange for assurance that al Qaeda wouldn't attack the country. U.S. officials said there was no indication that the approach was made, but the documents suggest that bin Laden believed that such a truce would be possible.