Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) cautioned his fellow senators to take a deep breath before they go calling on the United States to cut off aide to Pakistan in the wake of the discovery of Osama bin Laden in the country.“I think people need to think twice before they go off on a haphazard hasty way that actually injures our efforts,” Kerry told a group of reporters outside the Senate chamber on Tuesday. “We just got Osama bin Laden, and one of the reasons we got him is that we had intelligence people who were there and able to do the work. If we lose that, you put America at greater risk in my judgment, so I’d be very careful.”
Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been a long time supporter of a stronger U.S. allegiance with Pakistan. He’s the sponsor of a five-year $7.5 billion aid package and he went to the country in February to ease diplomatic tensions between the two nations following the killing of two Pakistani men at the hands of Raymond Davis, a U.S. civilian reportedly working in Pakistan as a CIA contractor.
“I’m as inquisitive as anybody about how this place could be 30 miles away [from Islamabad], a mile away from a major military installation, and be different from all the other buildings around it, and people didn’t follow that up,” Kerry said of bin Laden’s compound.
“But I think that we should not proceed in a knee-jerk, hasty, pre-conceived fashion without pursuing the facts and seeing even if this can be turned to advantage by getting some other things done that we need to get done,” he said. “And I think we need to be strategic about it.”
Kerry said they’ve been aware of issues with Pakistani intelligence and “it’s something we’ve been trying to work around in some cases.”
“I just don’t want to cut off our nose to spite our faces,” Kerry said.