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McCain criticizes Pakistan for jailing of doctor

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, today lashed out at Pakistan for the jailing of the doctor who helped lead the United States to Osama bin Laden.

That came as the Senate Armed Services Committee, of which McCain is the ranking Republican, said it wants to require the Defense Department to certify that Pakistan is open to maintaining supply lines -- and not supporting militant extremist groups -- before releasing U.S. funds to Pakistan's armed forces.

"All of us are outraged at the imprisonment and sentencing of some 33 years, virtually a death sentence, to the doctor in Pakistan who was instrumental not on purpose but was instrumental and completely innocent of any wrongdoing."

He added, "It is our goal to make sure that this doctor is not sentenced to death which is basically what he got for helping us apprehend Osama bin Laden."

In announcing this action today, McCain and Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) said they would not put a number on the restricted funds to Pakistan's military. They said they are open to discussing it with the Obama administration.

McCain also reacted to NBC's Andrea Mitchell's interview with President Zardari's son -- he called him "a very articulate young man," but then went on to challenge everything he said.

McCain believes Pakistan's demand for an apology over the airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani's last year is connected to their decision to convict and jail the doctor.

A very animated McCain told reporters,  Why convict an innocent man in response to your dissatisfaction that you didn't get an apology from the United States of America? What's that all about? This is a human being, a human being."

He continued, "To somehow allege that under any countries law that this doctor violated any law is of course just beyond ludicrous. It's outrageous."

McCain said the U.S. has expressed regret over the airstrike and he wants to know more details about it. He said once a complete investigation is done President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will decide if an apology is in order.

Levin and McCain held a press conference to announce completion of the markup of their Defense Authorization bill which included the Pakistan aid restrictions.

Earlier today, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to cut an additional $33 million in U.S. aid to Pakistan.

The amendment sponsored by Lindsey Graham (R-SC) cuts $1 million for every year of the 33-year sentence received by the Pakistani doctor.

The cuts will impact U.S. military aid to Pakistan. The Obama administration requested $2.27 billion in aid for the next fiscal year, but the committee pared that back and proposed $800.3 million. This $33 million cut to military aid will reduce that number even more.