White House rebuts Hersh's report on Pakistan role in bin Laden raid
The White House has rubbished claims of a new report that said its account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden was a lie, and Pakistan played a much larger role than generally understood.world Updated: May 11, 2015 23:30 IST
The White House has rubbished claims of a new report that said its account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden was a lie, and Pakistan played a much larger role than generally understood.
The report, by veteran journalist Seymour Hersh claims that bin Laden’s hideout was revealed to the Americans by a walk-in from Pakistani intelligence and not by tracking the ace terrorist’s courier as claimed by the US.
It also claims that Pakistan military not only knew of the raid, but had, as part of a deal with Americans, stood down and let SEALs fly in, raid the Abbottabad compound and kill bin Laden.
The Pakistanis wanted bin Laden dead and had insisted on it, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has said in a report in a British publication London Review of Books.
A White House spokesman dismissed the report in a statement Monday morning saying it has “too many inaccuracies and baseless assertions in this piece to fact check each one."
National Security spokesman Ned Price rejected a claim in the report that the US cooperated with Pakistan on the raid, saying that “the notion that the operation that killed Usama Bin Ladin was anything but a unilateral US mission is patently false."
Hersh has been a veteran reporter who broke such narrative-changing stories as the My Lai massacre and abuse of prisoners at a facility ran by the US in Abu Ghraib in Iraq.
But this report has been both widely read, and slammed. The chief criticism has been that it is based on information provided by a retired US intelligence officer — just one source.
Also, the report was published not by The New Yorker, where Hersh has been a contributor — not clear yet if it took a pass on it was never offered it, but by London Review of Books.
Hersh has claimed in the report that Pakistanis not only knew of the hideout, but had, in fact, endorsing a long-time favourite of conspiracy theorists, housed him there to keep an eye on him.
ISI men guarded the compound around the clock, but they left the night of the raid, as electricity to the neighbourhood was cut to provide the SEALs cover of darkness.
Details of the hideout were provided to then CIA station chief in Islamabad Jonathan Black, the report said, by a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer, who just walked in.
Hersh said the US kept the information from the Pakistanis initially, but brought them in later. They wanted a commitment, which was granted, according to the report, that the US will delay the announcement, and never give out the details.
But President Barack Obama announced it the same night, with all the basic details of where and how, which were fleshed out some more by aides over the following days.
First Published: May 11, 2015 22:59 IST