Bin Laden report: Did Pakistanis construct "we're stupid" narrative to avoid worse accusations of collusion?

Did Pakistani govt miss huge opportunities to... 01:59

(CBS News) A report on the hunt for Osama bin Laden says the Pakistani government missed huge opportunities to catch the terror leader sooner.

The Al-Jazeera report, posted on its website on Monday, blames the incompetence of Pakistan's intelligence and security forces. Bin Laden, it seems, was hard to miss.

The U.S. raid that killed bin Laden revealed that he'd been living in a large house in a compound with many neighbors, just 60 miles from Pakistan's capital, right under the noses of Pakistan's military and security agencies. The whole world -- including most Pakistanis -- asked how on earth he'd pulled it off.

The 336-page report was written by a commission tasked with investigating the circumstances surrounding the covert U.S. raid that killed bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011.

The report does fill in some blanks, CBS News' Elizabeth Palmer reported on "CBS This Morning." Based on interviews with three of his wives, it shows that after narrowly escaping a vast U.S. military manhunt in Tora Bora in 2001, bin Laden slipped across the border into Pakistan. First, he stayed with his guards in Swat, and then moved on to the town of Haripur for two years, and finally, to Abbottabad in 2005.

Bin Laden raid records secreted away from Pentagon

How, then, did he avoid detection for five more years? The report blames the whole Pakistani system -- top to bottom -- which was riddled, it says, with complacency, inefficiency and negligence. But what the report doesn't do is accuse any of those security services -- or individuals -- of colluding with bin Laden -- or Al Qaeda.

Dr. Sajjan Gohel, director for international security of the Asia-Pacific Foundation, said, "The report was designed ultimately to show that there was nothing deliberate or with any malice in hiding bin Laden, that genuinely there was a failure."

For many intelligence analysts in the West, this is nothing new. Corruption and incompetence in Pakistan's security services was already a given, and the report will do nothing to dispel the suspicion that someone, somewhere, in Pakistan's powerful establishment, gave bin Laden cover.

For more on this story, watch Palmer's report at the top of this article.

CBS News senior correspondent John Miller, a former FBI assistant director -- one of the few journalists who interviewed bin Laden, added on "CBS This Morning," that he was surprised by the reports' stories told by bin Laden's wives and children about everyday life in the compound over the years.

"I think you have to consider, Osama bin Laden figuring the Pakistani intelligence machine, the United States of America, never expected to last there that long," Miller said.

One of the details revealed in the report was that bin Laden walked around with a cowboy hat on to avoid detection from above.

"In a way that makes sense because it's going to provide some shielding," Miller said. "In another way, if you really want to get noticed in Pakistan, walk around with a cowboy hat. Plus, imagine if George Bush heard that, 'he was walking around with a what?'"

Bin Laden also had four separate electricity meters to avoid being detected for using a lot of electricity, "CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell noted. She added: "There were multiple examples of deception. And yet, the Pakistanis missed multiple opportunities to catch him."

Miller said: "It seems like everybody in town knew about the big house, except the police, the military -- which owned that town. I mean that's the location of the Pakistani West Point, and their intelligence service. So, now that we're at this stage of the conversation, we have to raise a serious question, which is: Did the Pakistanis construct a report that fell on the sword? -- choosing to say, 'We're incompetent and stupid.' (rather than 'we're colluding') which would be far worse and long-lasting. And you have to understand the Pakistani intelligence service...governments in Pakistan will come and go but the ISI, the intelligence service, is really the permanent government there and the shadow government in many ways."

Watch Miller's full analysis in the video below.

Turning to the transfer of bin Laden files from the Defense Department to the CIA, Miller said it's not "terribly significant. Anybody who says they're not trying to avoid Freedom of Information requests going to two different agencies is probably not being completely honest. But I think if you look at the bin Laden raid, it was a very unusual moment in American history because it was carried out under the intelligence title of law, which meant really the head of the CIA was the commander of the raid. But the actual raid was done by the military. So, if it was an intelligence operation, all the files belong on the intelligence side."

The Pakistani military is also saying that their incompetence, to put it mildly, was astounding, if not unbelievable, particularly the fact that they allowed the U.S. to fly in and carry out this raid without detection.

Responding to that, Miller said: "And that's something that the U.S. went to -- I was actually briefed on that operation the day after by the director of the CIA. I sat in on that briefing. And the things -- this wasn't simply just flying in unnoticed. The U.S. went to a lot of time and trouble to make sure that this worked, and I can't get into how they did that, but the Pakistanis would have been pretty good if they did notice."