Was there a cover-up in bin Laden killing?


(CNN) – Seymour Hersh is one of the giants of investigative journalism. Early in his career he broke the story of the My Lai massacre during which hundreds of unarmed civilians were killed by U.S. soldiers in Vietnam in 1968.

Hersh was still going strong after 9/11, breaking (along with “60 Minutes”) the story of the prisoner abuses by U.S. soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq for The New Yorker in 2004.

Now comes another blockbuster from Hersh in which he asserts, “The White House’s story (about the 2011 U.S. Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden) might have been written by Lewis Carroll.”

                                                    

Hersh’s article appeared in the London Review of Books, not in The New Yorker where he has been a contributor since 1993.

Because of Hersh’s stature his article about the bin Laden raid attracted so much attention Sunday when it first appeared that the London Review of Books’ website crashed.

Hersh’s major argument in his new report is that quite contrary to what Obama administration officials claimed in the wake of the bin Laden raid, U.S. and Pakistani officials were fully conversant about bin Laden’s whereabouts in the northern city of Abbottabad, cooperated in his capture and then engaged in a massive cover-up of all this, involving officials at many different levels of government in both nations.

• That the 2011 U.S. Navy SEAL raid on the Abbottabad compound where bin Laden was hiding in northern Pakistan was not a firefight in which SEALs went into a dangerous and unknown situation, but a setup in which Pakistan’s military had been holding bin Laden prisoner in Abbottabad for five years and simply made him available to the SEALs who flew in helicopters to the compound on the night of the raid.

• An officer from Pakistan’s powerful military intelligence agency ISI accompanied the SEALs on the raid and showed them around the Abbottabad compound, and the only shots fired that night were the ones that the SEALs fired to kill bin Laden.

• A “walk in” to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad tipped off the CIA that bin Laden was living in the Abbottabad compound, and it was not true — despite the statements of multiple U.S. officials after the raid — that the CIA had traced back one of bin Laden’s couriers to the Abbottabad compound and built a circumstantial case that bin Laden was living there.

• Saudi Arabia was financing bin Laden’s upkeep in his Abbottabad compound.

• A Pakistani army doctor obtained DNA from bin Laden that proved he was in Abbottabad, proof that was provided to the States so that all the supposed uncertainty — cited by Obama administration officials after the raid — about whether bin Laden was actually living in the compound was a lie.

• The “most blatant lie,” according to Hersh, 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” in advance of the U.S. raid on the bin Laden compound.

In short, according to Hersh’s account, President Barack Obama and many of his top advisers lied about pretty much everything concerning what is considered one of the President’s signal accomplishments: authorizing the raid in which bin Laden was killed.

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