It turns out that killing Osama bin Laden was the easy part. Dealing with the political fallout from the May 2 raid on the Al-Qaeda leaders Pakistan compound is proving trickier. And Congress isnt helping. President Obama evidently made a calculated decision not to inform Pakistani leaders in advance of the raid, which was probably the right move from a military standpoint but extraordinarily provocative diplomatically. With relations already seriously frayed because of civilian casualties from US drone strikes and the killing of two Pakistanis by a CIA contractor in January, the raid was seen by Pakistanis as a humiliating violation of national sovereignty. As a result, the countrys leaders are under crushing pressure to assert independence from an ally that the majority of the populace considers an enemy. In that context, the backlash from Islamabad isnt surprising. Pakistani officials have demanded a reduction in the US military presence, which has taken place, and an end to drone attacks, which hasnt. Visas have been withheld from US military and intelligence officials and, in the most problematic response to date, several CIA informants involved in the bin Laden raid have reportedly been detained. Americans, meanwhile, are outraged at such affronts from a country propped up last year by $4.5 billion in US aid. Prominent politicians from both parties, including GOP presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Va.), are questioning whether that assistance should be maintained. Talk turned into action Tuesday, when the House Appropriations Committee approved a defence spending bill that would authorise Congress to withhold 75pc of a $1.1-billion aid package for Pakistan. This provision richly deserves to be stripped from the final version. As the Obama administration tries to preserve a crucial relationship, congressional interference is doing more harm than good. Pakistans responses to the bin Laden raid, although troubling and potentially counterproductive, have been relatively innocuous so far. It seems hard to believe that bin Laden could have been hiding in plain sight in Abbottabad without some collusion from Pakistans military or intelligence services, but Defence Secretary Robert Gates says theres no evidence the countrys top leaders were aware of his presence. Unless such evidence emerges, it makes little sense to further jeopardise a relationship that is strategically vital to both countries war against extremists. Now is a time for diplomats to work quietly behind the scenes to smooth ruffled feathers, not for politicians to burst in with leaf blowers. LA Times