Pakistan’s Ambassador Might Want to Reconsider Comparing Osama bin Laden to Whitey Bulger

In a phone conversation with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg yesterday, Pakistani ambassador

Husain Haqqani

challenged the notion that his country should have been able to notice Osama bin Laden’s hiding place:

“If Whitey Bulger can live undetected by American police for so long, why can’t Osama bin Laden live undetected by Pakistani authorities?” Haqqani asked.

It’s cute of Haqqani to be reading the Most Wanted List for other examples of hard-to-apprehend fugitives. But

Whitey Bulger


probably isn’t the one he wants to discuss.

For the record, James “Whitey” Bulger was able to rule Boston’s criminal underworld in large part because he was

an informant protected by the FBI

—even as he allegedly murdered people. It also didn’t hurt that his brother, William Bulger, was the

president of the Massachusetts State Senate

. When the Justice Department finally moved to arrest Whitey Bulger anyway, he was tipped off by his corrupt contacts in the FBI and the Boston police.

So: enmeshed with the government and protected by the agency that was supposed to be capturing him. If Haqqani really believes bin Laden was the Whitey Bulger of Pakistan, then the ISI has a lot to answer for.