American officials have met with al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's widows, a U.S. official said. But the meetings may not have been particularly fruitful.
The women were openly hostile toward their American interrogators and almost completely uncooperative during the short meetings, according to a U.S. official briefed on the sessions. The meetings occurred at an ISI facility in the presence of Pakistani personnel from the spy agency.
The official said that the women appeared to fully share bin Laden's extremist beliefs but to have led lives that were almost completely cut off from both the outside world and the active terrorism planning taking place inside the compound.
The women and their children were captured during a raid on a fortified compound in Abbottabad, north of Islamabad, in which the terrorist mastermind and others were killed. U.S. commandos swiped much of the documents and data from the compound during the operation earlier this month, but American officials have not had much access to the other residents of the compound until now.
The question of whether the U.S. would have access to the women has added to the tension between the U.S. and Pakistan this week. White House press secretary Jay Carney walked a fine line in multiple briefings this week, calling on Pakistan to allow American access to the wives while assuring reporters that the relationship between the two countries is important and strong despite the recent revelation that bin Laden had been hiding with his family in Abbottabad for many years.
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