TODAY   |  May 03, 2011

Rice: 'Surprised' where bin Laden was found

Condoleezza Rice, President Bush’s national security adviser at the time of the 9/11 attacks, discusses issues surrounding the death of Osama bin Laden with TODAY’s Matt Lauer, including “enhanced interrogation” techniques and why she’s surprised bin Laden was found in a well-heeled area of Pakistan.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> condoleezza rice was president bush 's national security adviser on 9/11 and served later as secretary of state. nice to see you.

>> good morning.

>> let's start with the enhanced interrogation techniques. some former officials are connecting the dots between those techniques and the information that led to the killing of osama bin laden . do you feel the dots can be connected?

>> what you see is the united states over many years and two presidencies pieced together the information of how to get to osama bin laden . obviously information gleaned in the effort by our intelligence people contributed to this. but this is a bigger picture. it's a picture of intelligence and military working together in a way that allowed the joint special operations command to do what they did. our intelligence people were able, over a significant period of time, to bring together all of the threads and it is a tremendous victory for our intelligence people, our military. and really for the two presidencies. i remember president bush saying, we will not tire, we will not falter, we will not fail. that was on behalf of the united states and president obama and his team are to be congratulated on bringing this chapter to an end.

>> let me ask you about where he was found. it wasn't in the mountains or a primitive cave. it was an up scale neighborhood about 35 miles from the capitol of pakistan close to a prestigious military academy in a walled compound that by its very size and design should have called attention to it. in your mind, do you think some of the people we call partners in the war on terrorism in pakistan actually knew he was there?

>> i have to say i was surprised to learn where he was found. i think the general sense is he was probably in the tribal areas between afghanistan and pakistan . obviously there are tough questions here. i just heard john brennan say the pakistanis are looking into this. they should lauchblg an investigation because they, too, have been victims at the hands of al qaeda . they are our counter terrorism partners. they need to be --

>> does it draw --

>> they have to investigate this.

>> does it draw conclusions that either somebody in a position of power knew oral intelligence -gathering in their own country is embarrassingly labbing?

>> -- lacking?

>> let's take a hard look at what happened. i'm certain the administration along with the pakistanis wants to understand why osama bin laden could be so close to islamabad, really in plain sight. that's not good for us or pakistan .

>> did you trust the question meredith just asked mr. brennan? when you were secretary of state and nationalle security adviser, did you trust the pakistanis ? the fact that we told them nothing of the mission until it was over, not even of our intelligence that suggested bin laden was at this location indicates to me that we don't trust them.

>> a mission of this kind has to operate in absolute secrecy. i'm not surprised foreign governments weren't brought into the circle about this. obviously pakistan is a counter terrorism partner. everyone knows pakistan had trouble with extremism within some of the military and intelligence forces. president mousharef launched a kind of reform, even purgele of some of the institutions. it is no secret there were sympathizers within those institutions. it's always a delicate matter with pakistan as to how much information really is warranted and how much information will be protected. but i take the president at his word. i take secretary clinton at her word that the pakistanis were important in cooperating on this mission.

>> former secretary of state condoleezza rice . always nice to see you. thank you very much for your time.

>> nice to see you, too, matt.