Senate Grills Defense Chief on Pakistan Arrests

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To the outrage of U.S. lawmakers, Pakistan authorities detained the man who owned the safe house used by the CIA to monitor Osama bin Laden.

They also arrested the informant who recorded those coming and going from the secret compound.

In a U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Wednesday, senators grilled U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the matter -- and received some blunt answers in return.

"How long do we support governments that lie to us?" Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked the Pentagon chief.

"Most governments lie to each other," Gates bluntly replied. "That's the way business gets done."

"Do they also arrest the people that help us when they say they are allies?" Leahy shot back.

"Sometimes," Gates answered. "And sometimes they send people to spy on us, and they're our close allies."

"And we give aid to them?" Leahy pressed.

"That's the real world that we deal with," Gates said.

The arrests represent the latest crisis in a strained relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan, a country which has been deemed as vital to the American war on terror.

According to the Congressional Research Service, U.S. aid to Pakistan totaled $4.4 billion last year. In return, the U.S. relies on Pakistan to ship most of its equipment and supplies to fight the war in Afghanistan, as well as provide intelligence and to take out terror havens on its border with Afghanistan.

"Our relationship with Pakistan is extremely important. It is also complicated," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Meanwhile, al Qaeda has selected its longtime second-in-command Ayman al Zawahri to succeed Osama bin Laden.

Noman Benotman, a former jihadist who's met al Zawahiri face to face, told CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck that the new al Qaeda leader is even more ruthless than bin laden.

"He is the most extremist person in al Qaeda. He is extremely extreme, more than bin Laden. The word or the concept of "civilians," it doesn't exist in al Zawahiri's reality or ideology.

Al Qaeda's new leader is believed to be operating from somewhere near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.