Mike Mullen was in the White House Situation Room the night of the Osama bin Laden raid into Pakistan. As the then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he got an awkward assignment: Call Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and tell him what happened.
One of the takeaways from the above video, from the Aspen Institute Ideas Festival this week:For all the speculation about whether Pakistan was deliberately harboring the al-Qaida leader, Mullen is almost entirely convinced that Kayani was surprised to learn he was in the country.
“It belies belief in many ways,” Mullen said, but, “I can tell you his human reaction, when I spoke to him that night, he basically didn’t know he was there.”
Kayani had the worst week of his military career — maybe his life — after that, and was apparently taken aback by his “friend” Mullen not giving him a heads up, and the pair had a rocky relationship thereafter. But Mullen said Kayani told him that President Barack Obama should get the story out quickly, so Kayani would have an opportunity to explain himself.
Mullen added that it’s still not clear whether Pakistani’s Inter-Services Intelligence was sheltering bin Laden.