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Bin Laden informant should get U.S. citizenship, lawmaker says

February 13, 2012 | 10:06 am

Osama Bin Laden informant should be granted citizenship
The Pakistani doctor who helped CIA agents track down and kill Osama Bin Laden last spring should be granted U.S. citizenship, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher says.

The congressman from Costa Mesa has introduced a bill that would recognize the contributions of Dr. Shakeel Afridi, chief surgeon at Jamrud hospital.

According to the Daily Beast, Afridi faces a possible death penalty after a special Pakistan government commission recommended that he be charged with high treason for aiding in a foreign intelligence operation.

"It is shameful and unforgivable that our supposed allies in Pakistan have charged Dr. Afridi, who contributed to the operation that killed Bin Laden, with treason," Rohrabacher said in a prepared statement. "The United States needs to stand with those who help us. We have not forgotten about Dr. Afridi."

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has acknowledged that Afridi assisted in the CIA's effort to track down Bin Laden, who was living in an Abbottabad compound not far from one of the country's premier military academies, the Daily Pilot reported.

Afridi used a neighborhood inoculation program as a ruse to get a DNA sample from the children inside, which the military believed would have matched Bin Laden's.

Three weeks after Bin Laden's killing was announced, Afridi was arrested by Pakistani authorities. His family has reportedly disappeared as well.

"By granting him American citizenship we will send a direct and powerful message to those in the Pakistani government and military who protected the mastermind of 9/11 for all those years and who are now seeking retribution on those who helped to bring Bin Laden to justice," Rohrabacher said.

The congressman introduced legislation last year that would stop billions in aid to Pakistan.

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-- Joseph Serna, Times Community News

Photo: Crowds celebrate in New York's Time Square after news of Osama Bin Laden's death is reported on May 1, 2011. Credit: Mary Altaffer / For The  Times

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