Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Seymour Hersh, says President Barack Obama’s narrative of the killing of former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was a lie.
He claims that there was no firefight at the Pakistani compound and the facts were skewed so that Obama could claim political glory.
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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 Mirror reports:
It is alleged that the Pakistani government had been holding the 9/11 mastermind in his Abbottabad compound – located in a residential area known to be vastly populated by military officials – for years.
The CIA learned of his location after a high-ranking intelligence officer in the country tipped off the US in the hope of claiming a $25 million bounty, the report claims.
In his investigation, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh also alleges that the Obama administration negotiated with the Pakistani government and its intelligence officials from the ISI ahead of the raid, but then later claimed it was a secret infiltration mission.
Hersh, citing an unnamed source, says that Pakistani intelligence services cut the power to bin Laden’s compound ahead of the raid to aid the SEAL team in avoiding local military intervention.
There was no firefight, the report claims, and the only bullets fired were those that killed the terror chief.
Barrack Obama concealed the truth about the raid one year before an election in a bid to boost his administration’s popularity, it is claimed.
The article, published in the London Review of Books, says that bin Laden was also not buried at sea as previously claimed, and that he was in fact buried in Afghanistan.
Hersh says that Obama’s speech informing the American people about the sucsessful raid was “put together in a rush”.
He added: “This series of self-serving and inaccurate statements would create chaos in the weeks following.
“[Pakistani troops] were under orders to leave as soon as they heard the rotors of the US helicopters.
“The town was dark: the electricity supply had been cut off on the orders of the ISI hours before the raid began.”
In the article he quotes an anonymous source as saying: “The fact that there was an agreement with the Pakistanis and no contingency analysis of what was to be disclosed if something went wrong – that wasn’t even discussed.”
The US claimed to have found important documents at the compound – something Hersh’s source disputes.
The source added: “The White House had to give the impression that bin Laden was still operationally important.
“Otherwise, why kill him?
“A cover story was created – that there was a network of couriers coming and going with memory sticks and instructions. All to show that bin Laden remained important.
“The SEALS should have expected the political grandstanding. It’s irresistible to a politician. Bin Laden became a working asset”
A series of “lies, misstatements and betrayals” were concocted, the source claims – which have had an inevitable backlash.
They added: “We’ve had a four-year lapse in co-operation. It’s taken that long for the Pakistanis to trust us again in the military-to-military counterterrorism relationship – while terrorism was rising all over the world.
“They felt Obama sold them down the river.
“They’re just now coming back because the threat from ISIS, which is now showing up there.”
An unnamed Special Operations Command consultant, also quoted by Hersh in the article, says that the assasination of bin Laden was “political theatre designed to burnish Obama’s military credentials”.
The White House is yet to comment on the claims.