New ‘Half-Scandal?’ There May Be New Details Of Bin Laden’s Death


Does this mean that bin Laden isn’t dead? No, it just means there is a new report about the circumstances behind his death.

According to Democracy Now!, the new report written by Seymour Hersh for the London Review of Books says the Obama administration gave a false account of the hunting and killing of Osama bin Laden. It is normally claimed that bin Laden was shot dead four years ago this month in a U.S. raid on his compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

Hersh is an American investigative journalist and author based in Washington, D.C. According to Wikipedia, he is a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine. He has also won two National Magazine Awards and is a five-time Polk winner and recipient of the 2004 George Orwell Award.

He first gained worldwide recognition in 1969 for exposing the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War.

In his article, Hersh cites interviews with “a retired senior intelligence official” and American sources who “had access to corroborating information,” writes Slate magazine.

Hersh says top Pakistani military leaders knew about the operation and provided key assistance. The U.S. also claimed it helped locate bin Laden by tracking his personal messenger. But Hersh reports a former Pakistani intelligence officer identified his whereabouts in return for the bulk of a $25 million U.S. bounty. Pakistani intelligence was reportedly aware of bin Laden’s location and held him “prisoner” at the Abbottabad compound since 2006.

The White House claimed at the time the U.S. operatives entered from Afghanistan without Pakistan’s knowledge.

Hersh’s article also questions the U.S. account of bin Laden’s shooting, saying there was never a firefight inside the compound and that bin Laden himself wasn’t armed.

A retired American official says U.S. claims of finding information from bin Laden’s computers and documents was a “hoax” to give the false impression he was still operationally important.

Questions were also raised about whether bin Laden was actually buried at sea, as the U.S. claimed.

The White House has denied the accounts given by Seymour Hersh, and the CIA has called the Hersh article “nonsense.”

(Updated article)

Politics Hangs Over Who Shot Bin Laden

SealTeam6Former Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill says he fired lethal shots that struck Osama bin Laden’s head within a second of seeing the terrorist leader on the upper floor of his Pakistani house in 2011.

O’Neill told Fox News that bin Laden said nothing before a bullet hit his forehead and he slumped to the floor by a bed in a room on the third floor of his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, when U.S. special operations forces raided it.

“Very quickly I recognized him and it was pop, pop, pop,” O’Neill said.

He made the remarks in the second part of a two-night Fox News program, “The man who killed Osama bin Laden,” based on interviews with O’Neill and his claim to be the one who fired the shots that killed the terrorist leader.

In Wednesday’s segment, O’Neill said he encountered bin Laden after climbing stairs from the second floor behind another SEAL team member. The first SEAL fired an initial shot up the stairs, O’Neill said, and they both went up. When they reached the top of the stairs, the first SEAL encountered two women and shoved them aside and to the floor, assuming they were about to detonate explosives, O’Neill said.

That left O’Neill face to face with their target. He said he shot bin Laden three times in the face, twice quickly and a third time after bin Laden was on the floor. He said he can remember hearing Bin Laden expelling his last breath.

The team put bin Laden into a body bag and dragged him downstairs and across the grounds to their helicopter. A second helicopter that was part of the raid had been forced down in a controlled crash inside the compound after losing lift.

The version of events O’Neill described differs in some details with the account in the book No Easy Day, written by another SEAL team member, Matt Bissonnette, under a pen name. O’Neill said he did not dispute the other account.

“I think war is foggy and I think that the author is telling the story as he saw it,” O’Neill said.

According to the AP, O’Neill told the Washington Post that shots also were fired by two other SEAL team members, including Matt Bissonnette.  His lawyer said Bissonnette is under federal criminal investigation over whether he disclosed classified information in the book, which he did not vet with the military. In an Esquire article, O’Neill makes no mention of Bissonnette shooting bin Laden.

Well before the Post interview, O’Neill discussed his role in the raid during a private meeting with relatives of victims of the 9/11 attack on New York’s World Trade Center before the recent opening of the National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum. He donated the shirt he was wearing in the operation, which is now on display there.

O’Neill told the Post he decided to go public because he feared his identity was going to be leaked by others. Indeed, his name appeared Monday on the website SOFREP, which is operated by former special operations troops.

The actions of both O’Neill and Bissonnette have drawn scorn from some of their colleagues.

In an Oct. 31 open letter, Rear Adm. Brian Losey, who commands the Naval Special Warfare Group, and Force Master Chief Michael Magaraci, the top noncommissioned officer of the group, urged SEALs to lower their public profile. Their comments were widely perceived as being aimed at O’Neill and Bissonnette.

“At Naval Special Warfare’s core is the SEAL ethos,” the letter says. “A critical tenant of our ethos is ‘I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions.'”

The letter added, “We do not abide willful or selfish disregard for our core values in return for public notoriety or financial gain.”

O’Neill said he expected his decision to speak publicly about the raid, despite a code of silence among Navy SEAL special operations forces, would upset some and bring personal risk to himself. But he said he did not believe he was revealing secrets.

“I don’t believe I’m saying anything that hasn’t been said and confirmed by high ranking officials,” he said.

“Yes there’s personal risk but I’ve accepted personal risk before. It’s bigger than me. It’s not about me,” O’Neill said.