A photo taken by a local resident shows the wreckage of a helicopter next to the wall of the compound where Osama bin Laden was shot and killed.
A photo taken by a local resident shows the wreckage of a helicopter next to the wall of the compound where Osama bin Laden was shot and killed. Mohammad Zubair/AP
"Pakistan allowed Chinese military engineers to photograph and take samples from the top-secret stealth helicopter that U.S. special forces left behind when they killed Osama bin Laden," The Financial Times says it has been told by "people close to the White House and the Central Intelligence Agency."
The newspaper adds, though, that "a senior Pakistani official" denied his country had given China access to the helicopter, and that "China declined to comment, as did the White House and CIA."
The New York Times is also on the story. It writes that:
"In the days after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistan's intelligence service probably allowed Chinese military engineers to examine the wreckage of a stealth American helicopter that crashed during the operation, according to American officials and others familiar with the classified intelligence assessments."
The Times adds that:
"American officials cautioned that they did not yet have definitive proof that the Chinese were allowed to visit to Abbottabad. ... One person with knowledge of the intelligence assessments said that the American case was based mostly on intercepted conversations in which Pakistani officials discussed inviting the Chinese to the crash site."
Bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals in the early morning hours of May 2 (local time in Pakistan). As we reported back in May, experts who saw photos of the helicopter that ran into trouble and had to be left behind concluded that it was "a stealth version of the famous Black Hawk." According to various reports, before they left the compound the Seals destroyed the helicopter's most sensitive technology.
Two weeks after the raid on bin Laden's compound, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) brokered an agreement with Pakistan to return the helicopter.