US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says President Barack Obama’s narrative of the killing of former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was false.
In an article published on the London Review of Books website on Sunday, Hersh wrote that high-level lying “remains the modus operandi of US policy, along with secret prisons, drone attacks, Special Forces night raids, bypassing the chain of command, and cutting out those who might say no.”
Citing a retired senior US intelligence official, the journalist explained that how the killing of bin Laden was the “high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election.”
“The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account,” Hersh said.
“The most blatant lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders — General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI — were never informed of the US mission. This remains the White House position despite an array of reports that have raised questions,” Hersh wrote.
He also said bin Laden had been a prisoner of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency at the Abbottabad compound since 2006.
“Kayani and Pasha knew of the raid in advance and had made sure that the two helicopters delivering the Seals to Abbottabad could cross Pakistani airspace without triggering any alarms... that the CIA did not learn of bin Laden’s whereabouts by tracking his couriers, as the White House has claimed since May 2011, but from a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward offered by the US, and that, while Obama did order the raid and the Seal team did carry it out, many other aspects of the administration’s account were false,” according to the journalist.
Washington announced on May 2, 2011 that bin Laden was killed by US forces in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
A number of media reports later said the US government was moving to hide files about the US military’s suspected raid on Osama bin Laden.
The lack of transparency over bin Laden's death has cast further doubt over the announcement.
Regarding President Obama’s announcement of the raid to Americans, Hersh said, “Obama’s speech was put together in a rush.”
He also said the White House refused to respond to his requests for comment.