The White House and the CIA have refuted the claims made by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh about the 2011 killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Hersh alleged in a 10,000-word story published by London Review of Books Sunday that the United States and Pakistan lied about the raid that led to bin Laden’s death. The White House called Hersh’s allegations “baseless,” and the CIA said they were “utter nonsense” in a statement to the Washington Post.
"There are too many inaccuracies and baseless assertions in this piece to fact check each one," White House National Security spokesman Ned Price said in a statement to reporters Monday. He added: "The notion that the operation that killed Osama Bin Laden was anything but a unilateral U.S. mission is patently false."
Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell said the report was baloney during an interview on “CBS This Morning” Monday. “It’s all wrong. I started reading the article last night. I got a third of the way through and I stopped because every sentence I was reading was wrong,” Morrell said. “The source that Hersh talked to has no idea what he’s talking about.”
The U.S. Navy SEALs killed bin Laden May 2, 2011. Hersh talked to an anonymous American source, and among his claims is that two Pakistani generals knew about the raid beforehand and allowed American helicopters to pass into Pakistan’s airspace without retaliation. He also wrote that a Pakistani intelligence officer was paid $25 million for information about bin Laden’s location. Additionally, there was no gunfight during the raid. The only shots fired killed bin Laden, Hersh wrote.
In part of his report, Hersh likened the White House’s account of bin Laden’s killing to something the author of “Alice in Wonderland” could write. “The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll,” Hersh said, Yahoo Politics reported. “Would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town 40 miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaida’s operations? He was hiding in the open. So America said.”
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