he video: Not everyone was surprised when Osama bin Laden was finally tracked down in a suburban hideout near Islamabad, instead of a mountaintop cave in the remote Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier. In October 2008, Christiane Amanpour, then the chief international correspondent for CNN, correctly predicted bin Laden's whereabouts, as revealed in a newly unearthed conversation on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. "I just talked to somebody very knowledgeable," Amanpour told Maher, actor Alec Baldwin, and comedian Garry Shandling. "This woman who is in American intelligence thinks that he's in a villa — a nice comfortable villa in Pakistan." (Watch the clip below.) Maher jokingly asked if the villa was in Cabo, and Amanpour replied, emphatically, that bin Laden was "in Pakistan. Not a cave." Before Amanpour could say more, the conversation moved on to a topic that apparently offered more opportunities for political punchlines — Sarah Palin.
The reaction: Maybe our spies really did connect the dots two years ago, says Nick Carbone at TIME. Amanpour certainly sounds confident that bin Laden wasn't roughing it. "We wanted to envision a frail and gray Osama holed up in a cave," but maybe it should have been obvious all along "that a terrorist mastermind wouldn't settle for the life of a caveman." It's frustrating to watch this clip now, says Sarah Anne Hughes at The Washington Post. Amanpour seemed to have more specifics that she couldn't get out because Shandling and Maher kept interrupting. "Thanks a lot, Garry and Bill, for totally ruining our chances of finding out anything more." Take a look at the exchange:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Attack of the invasive species
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 14 wonderful words with no English equivalent
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- How to flirt, according to science
- Why I'm a pro-life liberal
- What The Americans gets wrong about Russian spies
Subscribe to the Week