Skip to main content

Report: CIA organized vaccination drive for DNA from bin Laden home

By the CNN Wire Staff
Click to play
Doctor arrested in bin Laden DNA sting
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A resident says two women came to her door to vaccinate her
  • The Guardian reports the CIA tried to collect DNA evidence through a vaccination drive
  • Pakistan detains a doctor suspected of aiding the CIA
  • One source tells the paper the operation did not succeed

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani security forces have detained a doctor who is suspected of helping the CIA try to collect DNA samples from people who lived in Osama bin Laden's compound before the terrorist leader's death.

A senior Pakistani security official confirmed the detention to CNN on Tuesday, but did not identify the doctor. The news was first reported by Britain's Guardian newspaper.

A May 2 raid by U.S. special operations forces killed the al Qaeda leader at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The Guardian said that in the course of gathering intelligence for the raid, the CIA recruited a Pakistani doctor to run a vaccination program in the area. The goal was to try to obtain DNA evidence from bin Laden family members, the newspaper said, citing unnamed Pakistani and U.S. officials.

Any DNA obtained from the people in the compound could then be compared with a sample from bin Laden's sister, who died in Boston in 2010, as evidence the family was in the compound, the newspaper said.

Doctor arrested in bin Laden DNA sting
U.S. and Pakistan in 'downward spiral'
RELATED TOPICS

Neighborhood residents told CNN that two women who appeared to be nurses visited homes and offered free vaccinations.

Shazia Bibi, 27, said she was vaccinated for hepatitis B in April when two women came to her home near bin Laden's compound and identified themselves as health workers.

"Whoever gets this vaccination will never get hepatitis B," said one of the women.

Bibi said the health workers spoke in a local dialect and asked for detailed personal information and said a vaccination would not be possible without the information. She said the women were accompanied by a man who stood outside their house.

Bibi received one injection. The rest of her family was not at home at that point. She said the women left behind two vaccines but that her relatives refused them. The vaccines are still sitting in her refrigerator.

The Guardian said it isn't known whether the CIA "managed to obtain any bin Laden DNA, although one source suggested the operation did not succeed."

CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood declined comment.

After the raid, Pakistani officials took into custody several people who are suspected of helping the CIA. The doctor is one of them.

One rented a safe house to the CIA in Abbottabad, a Pakistani source familiar with the arrests said last month.

Some of the CIA sources in Pakistani custody were low-level and not considered crucial, a senior administration official told CNN.

Pakistan has protested unilateral action by the United States in the country. The United States did not tell Pakistan about bin Laden until the raid was over.

Journalist Nasir Habib contributed to this report.