Pakistani Who Helped CIA Hunt Bin Laden Sentenced For Treason

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Pakistan man pulls on a rope around the neck of a demonstrator wearing a mask of US President Barack Obama during an anti-US protest in Karachi on February 26, 2012. (RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images/Getty)

A hero to some, a traitor to others.

Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi, who helped the CIA hunt down Osama Bin Laden, was convicted of treason yesterday by a tribal court in northwestern Pakistan. He has been sentenced to 33 years in prison.

Dr. Afridi ran a vaccination program for the CIA in Abbottabad in an effort to verify the Al Qaeda leader’s presence at the compound he was killed in last May. U.S. officials and lawmakers have roundly criticized Dr. Afridi’s detention and have lobbied with the Pakistani government to gain his release.

The sentencing is sure to add new strains to an already troubled U.S.-Pakistan relationship. Hassan Abbas, a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the Asia Society, joins us to discuss. Hassan is a former Pakistani government official, serving in the administrations of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and President Pervez Musharraf. Former Department of State spokesperson P.J. Crowley also joins. He is currently the Omar Bradley Chair in Strategic Leadership at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law and School of International Affairs. 

Former Department of State spokesperson PJ Crowley also joins us. He is currently the Omar Bradley Chair in Strategic Leadership at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. Former Department of State spokesperson PJ Crowley also joins us. He is currently the Omar Bradley Chair in Strategic Leadership at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. 


Hassan Abbas and P.J. Crowley

Produced by:

Marc Kilstein

Comments [3]

Brandt Hardin from Nashville

One year after Bin Laden’s death and over 10 years since 9/11, American citizens are still blindly allowing their civil liberties to be taken away one piece of legislation at a time. How much freedom are we willing to sacrifice to feel safe? Under the guise of fighting terrorism, laws have been put in place as a means to spy on our own citizens and to detain and torture dissidents without trial or a right to council. You can read much more about living in this Orwellian society of fear and see my visual response to these measures on my artist’s blog at

May. 24 2012 05:01 PM
Michelle from London

""USA should stop having double standards when it comes to spying. Good Old Jonathan Pollard, born and raised in Galveston, Texas, an American Citizen, a Naval Intelligence Specialist was caught spying for our biggest ally Israel and was convicted of all charges of spying and was thrown into the prison in 1987 and is still in Jail since then regardless of countless request and pressures from Israel and US Congress. There is something in Nation’s nature that they will never forgo this nature of spying that hurts its national morale and ego and no matter if the spying is done for friends or foe, they take it against the spies severely. Similarly, USA is Pakistan's biggest ally but when it comes to the spying for USA inside Pakistan by another Pakistani , Pakistan with all its problem and attacks by terrorists inside Pakistan and 35000 people dead and over 6000 troops martyred against war on terror, and more than 50 billion dollars of infrastructure losses, Pakistan could not tolerate this devious doctor from having treason and spying against its mother land. As USA punished her spy Jonathan Pollard so severely and make it an example to other people who have another thought to spy against USA, similarly Pakistan had to make an example by punishing Dr. Afridi to other people who would have thought to do spying for our friends or for our enemies. USA should commend Pakistan that it follows USA footsteps by punishing its spies and not condemning her.""

May. 24 2012 04:34 PM

"Intelligence fiasco"
Amazing how deftly the blame is shifted.
Try a political fiasco depending on who leaked the information about the informant along with the public disclosure by the administration of material found in the OBL hideout.
Was this a President more concerned about taking credit than securing the operation?

The media will try to ignore this like they will try to ignore the book The Amateur set to debut in the number one slot on the New York Times Bestseller List next moth. Good luck with that one.

May. 24 2012 09:09 AM

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