World News Brief, Wednesday May 4

Bin Laden's death: What did Pakistan know?... More details of the raid... Obama to visit 9/11 families (+ analysis & multimedia); Swiss banks freeze almost one billion dicatator dollars; Hackers steal personal data from millions; Harper finally wins Canadian majority; and more

Top of the Agenda: Bin Laden Death Puts Spotlight on Pakistan

Western nations have raised pointed questions regarding the fitness and legitimacy of Pakistani counterterrorism efforts due to the close proximity of Osama bin Laden's hideout (FT) to Pakistan's top army staff college on the outskirts of Islamabad. President Asif Ali Zardari said that Pakistan's forces were not part of the US military operation that killed bin Laden and claimed his security officials had no knowledge of his location (WashPost). The Obama administration said it will investigate whether Pakistani authorities (WSJ) helped the al-Qaeda leader stay in hiding for nearly a decade. While the White House was keen to acknowledge Pakistan's past counterterrorism efforts, senior officials suggested it was "inconceivable" that bin Laden did not have a support system within the country. UK Prime Minister David Cameron asserted that the West should be "tough" in asking questions about Pakistan, but stressed solidarity with the country's leadership that is fighting terrorism (NYT).

US officials released further details regarding the military operation that culminated in the death of bin Laden. Those familiar with the planning said the strike was the result of months of intense preparation and surveillance that, toward the end, focused on a small network of couriers (WashPost) thought to be bin Laden's only point of contact to the outside world.

President Obama said bin Laden's death signaled that the United States had kept its commitment to ensuring justice was done for the September 11 attacks (al-Jazeera), and that the world was safer without the terrorist mastermind. Obama is set to visit New York City on Thursday to pay tribute to victims.


Bin Laden's death is a real and symbolic blow to al-Qaeda, and its stature in the Middle East is already diminished by the pro-democracy movements in the region, but the group remains lethal. Seven CFR experts discuss.

In The National, CFR's Mohamad Bazzi writes that al-Qaeda is still a very serious threat despite the fall of its iconic leader.

On his CFR blog The Water's Edge, James M. Lindsay examines what bin Laden's death means for the US political landscape.


Foreign Affairs offers a collection of articles on al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

This CFR backgrounder on al-Qaeda offers historical insight into the international terrorist organization behind the September 11 attacks.


Pakistan's stability is of great consequence to regional and international security. Examine the roots of its challenges, what it means for the region and the world, and explore some plausible futures for the country in CFR's Crisis Guide: Pakistan.

In this video from CFR, Elliott Abrams discusses how Osama bin Laden's death weakens al-Qaeda in Arab and Muslim countries.


PACIFIC RIM: Sony Cyberattack Crisis Deepens

Sony officials in Tokyo announced that the personal data of an additional twenty-five million online PC customers was stolen by hackers (Guardian) prior to the data theft of some seventy-seven million PlayStation customers.

Korea: South Korean officials allege that North Korea's intelligence organization was behind a cyberattack (Yonhap) that paralyzed a South Korean bank's network last month. Authorities say hackers remotely operated a laptop of an employee and deleted essential computer files in the bank's servers.

CFR's Adam Segal writes that by focusing on some of the norms of interstate cyberconflict--and on thresholds and legitimate targets in particular--the United States will be better able to shape international cyberspace governance.



- Swiss Freeze Millions in North African Assets
- Harper Wins Majority in Canadian Parliament




This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on