Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh’s recent blockbuster article claiming that the Obama Administration lied about the Navy Seal operation to kill Osama Bin Laden has set off a battle between the journalist and the White House. Did the government lie about bin Laden?
According to veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, the story the Obama Administration told about the killing of Osama bin Laden was just that- a story.
Hersh claims that the Pakistani military knew of the U.S. mission; that bin Laden was a prisoner in Abbottabad since 2006; that an ex-Pakistani official told the U.S. where bin Laden was in exchange for $25 million; and that there was no fire fight in bin Laden’s alleged compound.
The White House calls the claims baseless with too many inaccuracies to check each one.
Some have noted that it’s difficult to dismiss Hersh’s claims. “You don’t believe a story until it’s officially denied,” saidAfshin Rattansi on RT.com.
The mainstream media has been aiming to discredit the story.
“The United States media won’t have it,” added Rattansi, who pointed out that Hersh had to get it published in the London Review of Books. “He can’t get them published in the land of the free.”
Hersh is a longtime contributor to The New Yorker.
In an article in New York magazine, Hersh said his relationship with The New Yorker has been tense and that they had already written a long-form feature about the killing of bin Laden, which focused on the action movie narrative from the administration.
Is Hersh’s story true? What do members of the U.S. military think of Hersh’s claims?
TruthInMedia.com’s Joshua Cook talked to a high ranking officer in the U.S. Army who said, “The Hersh article seems quite credible.”
One former Navy Seal told Cook, “Everyone in politics kills each other off with facts and fantasy.”
But it seems, according to Hersh, that the Bin Laden raid was just that- pure fantasy. “White House cooperated with Zero Dark Thirty. They did not cooperate with Seymour Hersh,” said Rattansi, pointing out that the Obama Administration provided guidance to the makers of Zero Dark Thirty, a Hollywood film about the mission to kill bin Laden.
One of the most disturbing points in Hersh’s article is the claim that the Pakistanis captured Osama bin Laden in 2006 in the Hindu Kush and the Saudis were financing the Pakistanis to keep him from the U.S.
Hersh told Scott Horton in an exclusive interview that Saudi Arabia financed this imprisonment, so Bin Laden wouldn’t reveal who was funding him (Listen here at 10:45).
The New York Times makes an important point: if Pakistan knew where bin Laden was or were holding him in prison as they claim, they were complicit in hiding a man charged with international terrorism and on the United Nations sanctions list.
It certainly makes one wonder even more about those censored 28-pages of the 9/11 report. What lengths will the U.S. government go to protect the Saudi royal family and our so-called allies who finance global terrorism?
“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.
Hillary Clinton later went on record saying that she wasn’t gasping in the photo, rather she was holding back a cough.
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: