Palin: Pakistani leaders might have helped bin Laden

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) on Monday night questioned whether Pakistani leaders provided assistance to Osama bin Laden while he was in hiding. 

The potential GOP presidential candidate called on the U.S. government to explore the possibility that Pakistan aided the former al Qaeda leader and raised questions about other aspects in the aftermath of the U.S. military operation that took down bin Laden. 

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"How was the most wanted man in the world" able to hide out "in plain sight?" Palin asked during a veterans charity fundraiser at Colorado Christian University. "Could it be that some of the Pakistani leaders were helping him?"

Palin, a frequent critic of President Obama's foreign policy, raised doubts about the amount of the U.S. aid to Pakistan, saying: "We deserve answers to our questions. We should demand answers to our questions."

The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee joined a chorus of lawmakers in Washington who called for greater scrutiny of the Pakistani government after the U.S. killed bin Laden while he hid out in a town close to the capital city of Islamabad.

The White House appears to hold similar fears; President Obama's counterterrorism czar, John Brennan, said Monday that it is "inconceivable" that Pakistan was not providing a "support network" for bin Laden. 

Palin offered both praise and criticism for Obama during her speech: She commended Obama, former President George W. Bush and the military for hunting down bin Laden.

But she did not mention Obama by name during her speech, instead referring to him as "the president." She thanked Bush by name "for having made the right call," a comment that garnered a hearty round of applause from the audience.

She also referenced the swirling debate over "questions about the burial, about the photos," of bin Laden. But she expressed confidence that "these [details] will be disclosed, we must trust."

The Tea Party favorite has not yet decided whether she will run for president, but some parts of her address sounded like a campaign stump speech. 

She contrasted the bin Laden mission's "decisive leadership" with the U.S.'s "ill-defined" military intervention in Libya and also laid out five pillars for military action, including a belief that "American soldiers must never be put under foreign command." She also said that U.S. forces should only be deployed when the country had a direct national interest in the outcome.

She also made a broader point about the direction of the country to conclude her speech.

"No, America is not in decline," Palin said. There is "not a need for a fundamental transformation of America. It's for a renewal of all that is good about America."