“The media is protecting the Obama Administration and the CIA brass in regard to the integrity of their account” says investigative journalist Gareth Porter while taking about a story that is creating a lot of controversy. That story by journalist Seymour Hersh is scathing report which aims to debunk the entire official story of how the Obama Administration killed Osama bin Laden.
Remember this famous image from the White House Situation Room as high level members of the Obama Administration watched in “real time” the killing of bin Laden? Of course, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta later admitted that the feed being watched here wasn’t actually a live feed at all. That there were no live images actually fed from inside the bin Laden compound.
Now, the Hersh report, provided by anonymous sources claims that more than just that photo was embellished. The main takeaways from Hersh’s story which ran in the London Review of Books:
1. US officials say they found bin Laden by tracking his trusted courier, Hersh says they discovered his whereabouts from a former Pakistani intelligence officer who wanted the $25 million reward the US was offering.
2. The U.S. government claimed bin Laden was hiding out, but Hersh says the Pakistani intelligence agency had actually been holding him captive since 2006 to use him as leverage against Taliban and Al Qaeda activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
3. While the White House has said it would have taken bin Laden alive if it could have and that he was killed in a firefight, Hersh says that wasn’t the case. “There was no firefight as they moved into the compound; the ISI guards had gone,”
4. As for the claim that bin Laden was secretly buried at sea, Hersh claims “The remains, including his head, which had only a few bullet holes in it, were thrown into a body bag and, during a helicopter flight some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains.”
To see RT America’s full interview with Seymour Hersh, watch here:
Of course the biggest problem with Hersh’s story is that there is no smoking gun. No direct evidence that his claims provided by several sources are true. As for the White House, they are as you would expect calling the report “baseless and inaccurate”.
White House national security spokesman Ned Price said that Hersh’s report contained “too many inaccuracies and baseless assertions” to fact check. It is worth mentioning that he doesn’t bother to fact check ANY of them.
VOX’S Max Fisher critiques Hersh’s report, commenting on the “tissue-thin sourcing, its leaps of logic, and its internal contradictions.”
CNN’S Peter Bergen reports on how the account is easily contradicted by “a multitude of eyewitness accounts, inconvenient facts and simple common sense.”
Jack Shafer also criticizes Hersh’s piece, noting that it offers “little of substance” for those who may wish to corroborate the claims.
Of course, for media to attack a reporter like Hersh is nothing new and that may be the biggest problem. In contrast to these criticisms, The Intercept reports that “R.J. Hillhouse, a former professor, Fulbright fellow and novelist whose writing on intelligence and military outsourcing has appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times, made the same main assertions in 2011 about the death of Osama bin Laden as Seymour Hersh’s new story in the London Review of Books — apparently based on different sources than those used by Hersh.”
But as investigative journalist Gareth Porter tells Ben Swann that he believes the Hersh story is correct on some points but incorrect on others. Porter has himself investigated the killing of bin Laden says that while some of the details of the Hersh report may be incorrect “the essential point that (the Obama Administration) told a massive lie about how they arrived at the Abbottabad compound and focused on it, that is absolutely true that that was a lie” says Porter.
You can view the full interview with Gareth Porter here: