The Pakistani doctor accused of helping the CIA track down Osama bin Laden was convicted of treason and sentenced to 33 years in prison yesterday.
In addition to the jail sentence, the doctor, Shakeel Afridi, was fined $3,500 for spying for the United States.
On Starting Point this morning, CNN national security contributor Fran Townsend weighs in on Afridi’s fate and responds to critics who have said that the United States did not do enough to help the informant.
Townsend explains it’s likely that Afridi thought he was “safe enough” in Pakistan and says it’s likely that he didn’t want to leave the country, especially without his extended family.
The United States is working to secure Afridi’s release, and Townsend confirms that Secretary Clinton has intervened on the doctor’s behalf. Although she believes that Afridi may face some jail time, Townsend says that she ultimately thinks he’ll be released through negations between the U.S. and Pakistan.
“Pakistan will use it as a leverage point,” Townsend explains. “They’re going to want some concession, some commitment from the United States that there will be no use of Pakistani citizens inside their own territory by American intelligence.”