By Bob Woodward
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 29, 2010; 3:03 AM
The third of three articles adapted from "Obama's Wars" by Bob Woodward.
President Obama dispatched his national security adviser, retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones, and CIA Director Leon Panetta to Pakistan for a series of urgent, secret meetings on May 19, 2010.
Less than three weeks earlier, a 30-year-old U.S. citizen born in Pakistan had tried to blow up an SUV in New York City's Times Square. The crude bomb - which a Pakistan-based terrorist group had taught him to make - smoked but did not explode. Only luck had prevented a catastrophe.
"We're living on borrowed time," Jones told Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at their meeting in Islamabad. "We consider the Times Square attempt a successful plot because neither the American nor the Pakistani intelligence agencies could intercept or stop it."
Jones thought that Pakistan - a U.S. ally with an a la carte approach of going after some terrorist groups and supporting others - was playing Russian roulette. The chamber had turned out to be empty the past several times, but Jones thought it was only a matter of time before there was a round in it.
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