Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh alleges the White House version of the assassination of Osama bin Laden may be a fairy tale. In an article published last weekend by Business Insider, Hersh said the White House version of the al Qaeda leader’s death was meant to hide Pakistan’s involvement and intended to help President Obama's 2012 re-election effort.
Hersh was questioned about his use of anonymous sources. He referred to two U.S. Special Operations Command consultants in his article as sources. The veteran journalist said using anonymous sources did not “diminish the credibility” of journalism.
Asad Durrani is the major named source in Hersh’s article. Durrani was the head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency during the 1990s. Hersh reported ISI captured bin Laden in 2006. The Pakistan intelligence agency kept the al Qaeda mastermind in captivity and used him to counter militant activities by al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
He also said the 2011 U.S. Navy SEAL raid to kill bin Laden was a “setup.” It was Pakistan that made him “available” for U.S. troops after keeping him in custody for five years. Hersh’s claim came with the argument it was Saudi Arabia that underwrote the expense of keeping bin Laden in captivity.
Hersh called it the “most blatant lie” and that the U.S. administration had never informed Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI, and Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff. "The White House doesn't like adverse stories that are contrary to what they want the public to believe," Hersh told Business Insider.
Hersh's article on the London Review of Books' website grabbed so much attention, the website crashed. While Hersh said the U.S. administration had lied about bin Laden, the White House called his claim “baseless.” CNN called the article "a farrago of nonsense" while several security experts criticized it.
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