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Monday
May092011

Pakistan Might Allow US Access to Osama Bin Laden's Wives

ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Pakistani government officials have since told their U.S. counterparts that they soon will get access to bin Laden's three widows, who are in custody in Islamabad, a U.S. official told ABC News Monday evening.

The White House had said earlier that Pakistan declined to provide access to the widows or to the material that Pakistani authorities seized after the raid on bin Laden's hideout. But that didn't mean, officials added, that access would never be granted, saying that they were working on gaining access.

"We're going to have those conversations, and we hope and expect to make progress," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said today. "We think the relationship's important, the cooperation's important. We've had differences in the past and overcome them, and we think we can overcome them now."

Gaining access to bin Laden's compounds and his wives are among the United States' key demands to Pakistan, and officials say the denial is another disappointment from that nation. Local authorities also have in custody eight of bin Laden's children and five other children, according to a senior Pakistani military official.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani spoke publicly Monday about the raid for the first time since it took place, rejecting accusations that Pakistani officials aided bin Laden, who had been hiding in Pakistan for several years. He warned the United States not to carry out a similar secret mission again.

"Pakistan reserves the right to retaliate with full force," Gilani said. "No one should underestimate the resolve and capability of our nation and armed forces to defend our sacred homeland."

In another indication of Pakistan's anger with its U.S. ally, Pakistani newspapers published the name of the CIA station chief in the region, usually a closely-guarded secret. The name was misspelled, but was phonetically accurate. It is the second time in recent months the CIA station chief has been unmasked, something that is seen as Pakistani retaliation for its treatment by the Obama administration.

The CIA is currently studying the trove of information seized at bin Laden's compound, which is enough information to fill the library of a small college, officials say. Among the mysteries they are hoping to uncover is what the Pakistani government knew and did not know.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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